Farmer's Cheesecake with Strawberries


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. Slideshow: More Incredible Cheesecake Recipes   Recipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 

Farmer's Cheesecake with Strawberries
Photo: © Christina Holmes
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 15 mins



  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 1/4 cups packed graham cracker crumbs (10 to 12 whole crackers)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Pinch of ground ginger

  • Pinch of cinnamon


  • 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese, at room temperature

  • 1/2 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar

  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Pinch of ground ginger


  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/4 inch thick

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds

  • 1/2 cup honey


make the crust

  1. 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.

make the filling

  1. 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.

meanwhile, prepare the toppings

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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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