MARIO BATALI: An Italian twist on cheesecake
I love cheesecake in any form, but this year I am most in love with a cheesecake with a surprise: Nectarine and Black Pepper Cheesecake.
Ricotta brings a lightness that is unmatched to the classic New York cheesecake. I add mascarpone and American cream cheese to help balance the ricotta and achieve an ideal creamy texture. This blend will save you from the denseness that sometimes plagues this dessert.
Near Modena, in Emilia-Romagna, nectarines are often served with black pepper and balsamic vinegar, a combination so deceptively perfect and balanced that it seemed a logical step to mix that combination with delicious ricotta and cream cheese.
When nectarines aren't available at the market, use any stone fruit: plum, apricots or even cherries.
This dessert is simply tantalizing.
Nectarine and Black Pepper Cheesecake
Recipe courtesy of Molto Batali (ecco, 2011)
Makes one 9-inch cheesecake; serves 8 to 10.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 ripe nectarines, pitted, peeled and sliced