With a filling of ricotta, peas and garden herbs, these are a lighter take on a baked cheesecake. If there is a better use for courgetti, I have yet to find it. This recipe uses my Quick Soured Cream Pastry, so it’s super simple to make.
Courgetti and Ricotta Cheesecakes with Pink Peppercorns
1 quantity of Quick Soured Cream Pastry (see recipe below)
a little plain flour, for dusting
200g feta cheese
200g ricotta cheese
100g crème fraîche
2 medium eggs
2 medium egg yolks
50g frozen petits pois
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 courgette, spiralised or grated
whole pink peppercorns, for sprinkling
salt and freshly ground black pepper
10x10cm round fluted tartlet tins
1x12cm round pastry cutter
Make the quick soured cream pastry according to the method below and put in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes before using.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6 and place a baking sheet in the oven to preheat. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick. Cut or stamp out ten 12cm circles using the pastry cutter, press each into a tartlet tin and trim the excess from the edges with a sharp knife.
Now make the filling. Weigh 150g of the feta into a large bowl and break it up with a fork, then stir in the ricotta and crème fraîche. Beat well until evenly combined, or you could do this in a food processor?to save time. Add the whole eggs and egg yolks and mix well, then add the petits pois, spring onions, fresh herbs and lemon juice and mix well again. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide the filling mixture between the lined tartlet tins and top with the courgette, the remaining feta and a sprinkle of pink peppercorns.
Transfer the tartlet tins onto the hot baking sheet and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Lower the heat to 160°C/fan 140°C/gas mark 3 and bake for 35 minutes or until set and the feta is just golden. Allow to cool slightly before removing the cheesecakes from the tins – you may need to use a knife to loosen the edges. Serve warm or cold.
Quick Soured Cream Pastry
This lovely pastry is super-quick to make and has a very soft texture. As long as you don’t over-mix, it’s almost foolproof. Try adding fresh herbs, such as thyme or oregano.
175g plain flour, plus a little for dusting
a tiny pinch of salt
150g butter, well chilled and cut into small cubes
90ml soured cream
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl or food processor and add the butter. Rub in with your fingertips or pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the soured cream and stir or pulse for 2-3 seconds, or until just mixed. Bring together on a lightly floured surface and shape into a flat disc, then wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes before use.
Extracted from The Higgidy Cookbook by Camilla Stephens (Mitchell Beazley, approx €23), octopusbooks.co.uk
Photograph by Dan Jones.