LA PASTIERA NAPOLETANA – NEAPOLITAN STYLE CHEESECAKE

For cheesecake 8-10 inches

 

1 and ½  cup all purpose flour

½ cup butter

½ cup cream cheese

1/2 tsp salt

 

4 eggs

1lb (1/2kg) cottage cheese or ricotta

1/2 cup birch sugar or sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp orange flour water

juice of ½ orange

zest from one orange

¼ cup orange liqueur

 

2 tbs candied orange peel

½ cup shelled pistachios

What I will remember about the Naples most is the smell of orange blossoms. Orange trees are everywhere, lining the streets, courtyards and parks. The smell of the orange blossoms is so overpowering, no way to escape. Esecially in the afternoon, when we were taking a walk from Capodimonte Museum, the warm air was smell of the  orange blossoms was so strong. On the fist day I found orange flower water in a store, and so bought a small bottle. I had some at home, but when I compared the two was shocked to find that the smell is quite different. Seems nothing beats the original. With so many oranges here no wonder we find the flavor in so many desserts. The most popular is the pastiera Napoletana – orange flower flavored cheesecake. So here is the cheesecake recipe so you can also find yourself in Naples, at least in your dreams.

Place the flour, cream cheese, salt and butter in a food procesor. Process until ground to medium size crumbs and uniformly mixed. Gather the crubms to form a disc  and refrigarate for at least one hour. Take two thirds of the pastry and roll it out into ¼ inch thickness, and ease into a baking pan. Prick with a fork and put aside to rest.  Beat the eggs with the sugar until pale and trippled in volume. Add the cottage cheese, orange flour water, salt, orange zest and juice and mix until uniform and fluffy. Mix in orange liqueur together with orange peel and pistachios. Transfer the cheese onto the rolled out pastry, even out with a spatula. Roll out the remaining pastry, cut out the stripes and place over the cheese in a criss cross pattern. Bake the cheesecake in the oven heated to 350 degrees F (180C) for 45-50 minutes.

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