The Sweet Onion Source
Oso Sweet Ricotta Cheesecake

Makes one 10-inch cheesecake; Serves 8

This unusual cheesecake recipe comes from Walter Staib, Chef/Owner of City Tavern, a famous Philadelphia restaurant established in 1773. It was a big hit at the Oso SWEET CONFECTION CHALLENGE held at the original Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia.  

Ingredients:

Crust

bullet 3 cups graham crackers, finely ground
bullet 1/2 cup butter, melted

Onion Filling

bullet 2 large Oso Sweet onions, peeled & coarsely chopped
bullet 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
bullet 1 quart heavy cream
bullet 1/2  teaspoon ground cinnamon
bullet 2 cups Arborio or sushi rice

Ricotta Filling

bullet1 pound ricotta cheese (overnight preparation required – see step #5)
bullet 8 ounces sugar
bullet 8 eggs
bullet 3 pounds cream cheese
bullet 2  1/2 cups Onion Mixture

Topping

bullet 1 tablespoon butter
bullet 2 tablespoons sugar
bullet 1 1/2 large Oso Sweet  onions, peeled & finely chopped
bullet 3 tablespoons honey
bullet 1/2 cup fresh mint, julienned

Method

1. Prepare the Crust: In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the graham crackers and butter.  Press into the bottom and about two inches up the sides of a 10-inch-round by 3-inch high springform cake pan.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Prepare the Onion Filling: In a large saucepan over low heat sauté the onions in the butter until the liquid has been released and the onions are translucent.  There should be no color.

3. Add the cream, cinnamon and rice and cook over low heat until the rice is cooked and the onions have disintegrated.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.

4. Place in a blender or food processor and purée until fine.  Set aside until ready to use.

5. Prepare the Ricotta Filling: The night before you want to bake the cake, line a medium-sized bowl with cheesecloth.  Fill the cloth with the ricotta cheese, set a plate atop the cheese to weigh it down and let it sit overnight.  The following day, wrap the ricotta cheese in the cheesecloth and wring out as much liquid as possible.  Transfer the cheese to a fine mesh sieve and, using a plastic spatula, force the cheese through into a large stainless steel bowl.

6. Mix together the ricotta with the eggs, sugar, cream cheese and Onion Filling.

7. Preheat the oven to 300°F.

8. Pour the Ricotta Filling into the prepared pan.  Place the pan into a larger, high-sided roasting pan and carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan around the springform pan to a depth of 1 1/2 inches. (This step reduces cracking on the top of the cheesecake.)

9. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the middle of the cheesecake is nearly set when shaken and slightly puffy.  Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

10. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

11. Prepare the Topping; In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and cook the sugar till golden brown. Add the onions, toss to combine and continue cooking till the onions are light brown.

12. Add the honey just until the onions are coated and bound together.  You may need to use less or more than the 3 tablespoons called for, depending on the amount of liquid in the onions.

13. Remove mixture from heat and let cool.

14. Gently fold in the julienned mint until well incorporated.

15. Cut cheesecake into 4 wedge-shaped slices and place 1 tablespoon of the Topping on the wide end of each slice for garnish.

© 2006, Oso Sweet Onions