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Farmer's Cheesecake with Strawberries
© Christina Holmes

Farmer's Cheesecake with Strawberries

  • ACTIVE: 40 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 3 HRS 15 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 8
  • MAKE-AHEAD

For this elegant, no-bake cheesecake, Nicolaus Balla ferments his own farmer’s cheese (a kind of cottage cheese). Ricotta mixed with cream cheese makes a delicious substitute for the filling, which is incredibly light, delicately sweet and wonderful inside the crumbly graham cracker crust.

crust

  1. 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 3 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 1/4 cups packed graham cracker crumbs (10 to 12 whole crackers)
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. Pinch of ground ginger
  6. Pinch of cinnamon

filling

  1. 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese, at room temperature
  2. 1/2 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  3. 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. Pinch of ground ginger

toppings

  1. 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  2. 1/4 cup sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  4. 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  5. 1/2 cup honey
  1. MAKE THE CRUST In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the sugar over moderately low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the salt, ginger and cinnamon. Stir in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the side of a 9-inch fluted tart pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.
  2. MAKE THE FILLING In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the ricotta with the cream cheese, agave nectar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and ginger just until smooth. Using a spatula, spread the filling in the chilled crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.
  3. MEANWHILE, PREPARE THE TOPPINGS In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice. Let stand at room temperature, stirring once or twice, until the berries are juicy and slightly softened, about 30 minutes.
  4. In a small saucepan, toast the caraway seeds over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a mortar and lightly crush the seeds. Return the caraway seeds to the saucepan and add the honey. Warm the honey over moderately low heat for 10 minutes. Strain the honey into a bowl, discarding the seeds; let cool.
  5. Cut the cheesecake into wedges, top with the strawberries and caraway honey and serve.
Make Ahead The cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. The honey can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.
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