"This is a journey of my life since I was all of 12 yrs when I started my hand in cooking to now with displays of my learning and creations of recipes from around the world. My inspiration and role model has always been my Mum who has always created dishes from around the world and excellently well. I do not believe I would ever match to her culinary skills. I remember the times she could cook and bake almost 4-5 dishes in one go without ever letting one go under cooked or burnt! I was born and raised in Dubai, UAE and recently moved to India for family reasons. Kitchenette just means that over the decades, my kitchen has changed from that of my mum's to my uncle and aunt's, to my home in UAE and now in India. Pala't'te, describes both global cuisines ('Palatte'-diverse flavours) and pleasing diverse 'Palates'."

Saturday, 21 July 2012

George Colambaris' Lemon and Ricotta Cheesecake with Fruit Salad

I thought that since this is a month of celebrations, an innumerable of my loved ones' birthdays and anniversaries this month and also because my blog crossed 2000 visitors, this post would be a celebration of all sorts. Thank you for visiting my blog and for cheering me on through your wonderful inspiration and kind words.
My take on George Colambaris' Lemon and Ricotta Cheese cake with  Fruit Salad

Georgie aka George Colambaris is also one of my favourite chefs and no its not only because of his name being similar to mine and us sharing a common nick name.

It was my hubbykins birthday about two weeks ago and I made him this divine cheese cake. 'A' does not have a particular favourite cake per say(can you imagine) but he did want a cheese cake so I decided to go with GC's Cheese cake. Given the limitations of availability of some of the ingredients and kitchen equipment that Mr. Colambaris used in his original recipe, I made best of what produce and equipment I had available in Hyderabad, India and at home. I decided to also put up some of the pictures which are not so pretty to let you know what not to do when you make this cake (get the right sized cake tray and the correct shape. Make sure it is a spring cake tray if you are following this recipe to the 'T').

For those of you in Hyd., I got my Ricotta cheese from Godrej's Nature Basket which incidentally also hosted a pin-up ad of MasterChef Australia's judges on one of their walls. Ricotta had the best price at this store among the many I visited. Also since there were not many options for the fruits, I chose cherry and plum (from what was left over from the sorbet) and some fresh sweet lime. It was a winning compliment for the cheesey cake (no pun intended).  I could have used pomegranate, melons, tender coconut and mango. May be next time!

I used the right quantities of George's cheese layer as I had to make it as perfect as possible for A's birthday celebration. Two things I used that did not work in my favour. One was that I never lined up a cake tray with parchment or butter paper ever, especially in a spring cake tray. So this was my first of doing so and the second was that, of my available spring cake trays, the one I used was probably better for a quiche as it had a rim which was not plain round and with arches. So that was a mistake as you would see from the rim in the picture that it was uneven but when served, it did not pose much of a problem. Also I had to redo it with foil as the cake tray I used was the wrong kind causing the cheese to run the first time. 
Birthday cake

I would have loved for a taller and less wider cake tray. So I will make sure to buy one before attempting this recipe the next time around. I have made many a cheese cake earlier but always similar to George's mention in MC where his friends used a basic Marie biscuit for the base ingredient. Since I also had some utility issues in our apartment, I chose to do the same as I did in the past for my base. Other than that the cheese mix was exactly how George mentions in his recipe

For the Plum Sorbet, I used my mixer since I did not have a ice cream churner. It turned out fine in terms of flavour but not perfect in terms of its texture (not as perfect as George's I would imagine considering the lack of the ice cream churner!).

So for my home version of George's Lemon and Ricotta Cheesecake with Fruit Salad

You need:

Biscuit base

  • 2 large packs of Marie Bisuits (powdered) *I used only one but its best to use 2
  • 50 gms of powdered almond or almond meal
  • 25g of castor sugar or powdered sugar (you can also used refined sugar)

Ricotta Cheesecake Mix
Vanilla bean

  • 200g cream cheese
  • 160g ricotta, drained through a muslin cloth
  • 100g whole eggs (or 2 whole eggs)
  • 25g egg yolks (or 1 egg yolk)
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 90ml pure cream (I got mine from Ratnadeep which was the closest to full pure cream)
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (again from Nature's basket)
  • Zest of one lemon (I used the sweet lime as the large lemon was unavailable)

Plum sorbet

  • 170ml water
  • 170g sugar
  • 450g blood plums, roughly chopped and seeds removed (I got this from Nature's Basket as well - Indian variety. Luckily it came in different sizes in one pack so I used the smaller ones for the fruit salad)

Fruit salad

  • 1 tbsp  of Crème fraiche (or light sour cream)
  • Cherries, Sweet lime, Small plums (remove seeds)
The Make:

Serves 6-8 adults, Preparation Time: 8 hrs(min. resting time), 1 hour, Cooking Time: 45 minutes

For the Biscuit base (my make - George prepared one with flour):

1. Preheat oven to 165°C(which is medium heat or Gas Mark 3). Grease and baking paper line the base of a 20cm 'round' spring form cake tin.

2. You can choose to powder the biscuits in a food processor or grinder or use a parchment sheet to place hand-broken biscuits and roll over with a rolling pin until powdered ensuring no lumps. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add butter bit by bit and slowly bring together forming a firm crumb. Tip crumbs into prepared tin and smooth over with the back of a spoon to achieve a thin even layer. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Base of the cheese cake
For the Ricotta Cheesecake Mix:

3. Reduce oven to 90°C (lowest Gas Mark). Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Pass though a fine sieve to ensure there are no lumps.
Into the blender
4. Pour mix over biscuit base, tap tin firmly on the bench to release air bubbles and bake for 25-30 minutes. Test touch lightly, it will appear still very soft, leave to set in the fridge for 6-8 hours or overnight before serving. Make sure the fridge is normal temperature and not high cool.

Passing through the sieve
For the Plum sorbet:

5. Place water, sugar and chopped plums into a saucepan over a medium-high heat and cook until plums are tender. Allow to cool slightly. Pour into the bowl of a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
Cooked Plums

6. Chill over an ice water bath(a must). Pour into a pre-chilled ice-cream machine or blender and churn according to manufacturers instructions or until blended well.

For the Fruit salad:

7. To serve, spread a little crème fraiche or light sour cream down the centre of the plate. This will serve as a base to place the fruits around the cheese cake. Place a slice of the cheesecake in the centre and cover the crème fraiche with the fruit salad.
Happy Birthday Hun!

Although the chef was not happy, she was glad to have had two loved ones enjoy this treat to the max!
Thanks George C. for sharing this lovely, delightful cake recipe.

This is a make to share with the family, friends and loved ones as it is quite rich. Enjoy! Share the joy of this light and creamy Goodness with your loved ones!


  1. Looks yummy.. it's my first visit to your blog...looks like am welcomed with a sweet dish! :)

    1. Thanks Priti. I am glad you found your welcome sweet :) keep visiting and let me know if you try out any of my creations or GC's creation as well :)

  2. This certainly looks divine.Here on ship, the head chef makes cheese cake but its alright.As i cant make it myself here,i should give this recipe to him.Thank you for sharing .'

    1. Thanks Anu. Please do let me know how it turns out after he makes it. try to snap some pictures and mail it to me on gginazkitchenette@gmail.com too.


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