Cheesecake with Poached Spiced Quince
Elegant ricotta cheesecake and poached quince is a spot-on pairing. This recipe—from Olympia Provisions’ pastry chef Melissa McKinney—takes some time, but most of the work is hands-off. You’ll need a springform pan and a roasting pan.
- 1¾ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 15 graham crackers)
- ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1½ cups sheep’s milk ricotta, drained in cheesecloth overnight
- ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 quinces (about 1 pound), peeled, cored, and quartered
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and heat oven to 350°F.
- In the bowl of a food processor, blend together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, flour, and salt. Add melted butter and vanilla, processing until crumbs are evenly moist. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch springform pan with 2½-inch-high sides, and press mixture firmly into bottom and 1¾ inches up sides of pan. Transfer to the oven, and bake until crust is set, about 12 minutes. Cool crust in pan.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add ricotta and beat until blended. Add vanilla bean, sugar, orange zest, vanilla extract, and salt, blending together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, blending again after each addition. Pour filling into baked crust, and smooth top with a spatula.
- Heat oven to 325°F. Wrap three layers of foil around the outside of the springform pan, covering sides completely. Put a kettle of water on to boil.
- Place a large roasting pan in the middle of the oven rack. Place springform pan in the roasting pan. Add enough boiling water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Carefully push rack into oven. Bake until cheesecake is set around the edges and the center no longer moves when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to a wire rack, and cool in pan for 1 hour. Chill cheesecake, uncovered, overnight in the refrigerator.
- In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, spices, and lemon zest and bring to a simmer. Add quince, cover pan, and continue to cook until quince is tender, about 1½ hours. Let quince cool in liquid, and refrigerate overnight before serving.
- Carefully remove springform ring from around cheesecake, and transfer cake to a serving plate. Remove cinnamon stick and cardamom pods from poached quince, and spoon the fruit over cheesecake. Drizzle with a bit of sweet poaching liquid. Slice and serve.
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