I had to make something pretty for Holi, the Indian festival of colors that heralds the beginning of spring. For a while, I experimented with a ricotta-based khoya, to mimic the delicious milk-based ‘burfi’s (fudge) I’ve grown up eating. Somehow, that evolved into this fusion dessert - that’s really a cheesecake but adapted to be more dense, with saffron and cardamom thrown in. Studded with chopped pistachios and edible flowers, this dessert is stunning and unbelievably simple - just blend everything together, bake and refrigerate!
Vanilla Bean burfi-style Cheesecake
1 tsp softened butter
8 oz./224g full-fat ricotta
8 oz./224g full-fat cream cheese
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
4 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tsp. vanilla bean paste
2 Tbsp. chopped pistachios, for garnish
Pinch saffron, for garnish
Edible flowers, for garnish (optional)
Step 1. Preheat oven to 325F/160C.
Step 2. Grease the inside of an 8X8 pan (20cmX20cm) with butter and freeze for 15 minutes. This is to help the cheesecake rise without sticking to the sides. Try to use a pan with a smooth bottom or line with parchment. As you see in the video, I used a rectangular pan that was more like 8.5”X6.5”.
Step 3. Blend ricotta, cream cheese, cornstarch, maple syrup, vanilla bean paste and cardamom together until smooth in a blender or food processor. Spoon into the prepared pan and smoothen with a spatula or tap on counter to settle.
Step 4. Bake at 325F/160C for 25-30 minutes or until the top is set.
Step 5. Garnish with chopped pistachio and saffron. Let cool to room temperature and decorate with edible flowers. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours or overnight. Slice and serve!
I also made a short video, watch it here!