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Merry Christmas everyone!  Where we live, in the sub-tropics of coastal Australia, it’s very hard to get enthusiastic about traditional Christmas fare – although I love it – it’s just too damn hot for roast turkey and boiled puddings, so I thought I would share with you this orange scented cheesecake recipe – as simple as it is delicious.  It’s based on the traditional Italian recipe that has the self-forming crust – so no need for biscuit or pastry bases, but mostly an adaptation of a Belinda Jeffery recipe – and is the perfect end to any festive meal.

800 g fresh ricotta
2/3 cup fresh cream or sour cream (gives it a bit of a tang)
2/3 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup sultanas, soaked for a couple of hours in Cointreau (or any other sweet alcohol)
zest of one large orange
1/2 cup plain flour + 1 tbsp (for dusting cake tin)
6 eggs
Pinch of salt
Flaked almonds for decoration – they look nice because they become golden and give the cheesecake a bit of a crunch.

1.  Preheat oven to 150oC
2.  Line 23cm springform pan with non-stick baking paper (what did we ever do without this?), lightly grease it with butter and dust with flour – this helps to form the crust.
3.  Whiz the ricotta in a food processor until smooth.
4.  Break eggs into separate jug, just to be sure – nothing worse than spoiling the whole lot with one not quite fresh or with bits of shell.
5.  Add orange zest, sugar, cream, flour, and salt to ricotta and whiz for 10 seconds.  Scrape down sides.
6.  With processor on, add eggs and continue for another 30 seconds.
7.  Stir in the soaked sultanas, with any residual Cointreau.
8.  Pour into prepared tin, smooth over surface and sprinkle with flaked almonds.
9.  Bake for one hour until firm and slightly golden. Let the cheesecake cool before you serve it – and it’s very nice with any kind of berries, in fact it’s the main reason why I made it – my loganberries where fruiting for the first time and wow, are they delicious!

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