Easter in Autumn: Plum Pistachio Cheesecake

I don’t suppose I will ever fully adjust to living below the equator.  The reversal of the seasons is the most strange of phenomena.  I still refer to June, July and August as Summer, despite the reality of winter.  When Spring rolls around in October and the city begins to bloom, I find myself craving leaf-turnings, sweaters, earlier sunsets and pumpkins.  And in the Fall, when April days shorten with the not-so-far off equinox, I dream of baby ducks, budding tulips and pastel dresses.

Easter is my most poignant manifestation of seasonal contraposition.  Easter is a holiday of rebirth, of joy, of hope, of resurrection; themes which have defined my conception of Springtime.   I spent my last two Easters with Argentines, enjoying the Italian tradition of a family lunch and eating chocolate eggs until my stomach turned.  For my third Buenos Aires Easter, I wanted to find a balance of my happy, Spring traditions with my beautiful Autumn reality.  That was the inspiration for this recipe: to give fall flavors the etherealness of Springtime’s new life.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 2 cups of unbleached flour
  • 1 cup of corn meal
  • 1/2 cup of butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup of pistachios, crushed
  • 3/4 cup of organic sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • dash of salt

The filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups of ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice and extracted ginger root juice
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 4 or 5 large plums, sliced
  • 3 small plums, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons of crushed pistachios

Directions:

For the crust:

  • Shell 1/4 of a cup of pistachios.  Using a rolling pin, crush the nuts into a finer texture, or chop them if you prefer.
  • Combine the flour and polenta, pistachios and baking soda in one bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla and mix thoroughly until the consistency is uniform.
  • Slowly add the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until the dough is sticky.  Roll dough into a large ball, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour until the dough is firm.

For the filling:

  • Pit and peel the three small plums, called ciruellas here in Buenos Aires.  Using a fork, mash them into a pulp.
  • Using a juice extractor, juice the orange and ginger.  This should produce a half cup of powerfully fragrant juice.
  • Combine the juice with the mashed fruit and honey and mix to uniform consistency.
  • Add the ricotta and egg and mix until the ricotta is smooth and has a thick yogurt texture.

Assembly: 

  • Preheat the oven to 350º.
  • In an non-greased pie plate, press the dough to form a crust.  The cornmeal holds shape throughout baking.
  • Arrange the sliced plums around the bottom layer.
  • Carefully spoon the ricotta mixture over the plums, making sure they are as well hidden as your heart’s desire.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Allow the masterpiece to cool, and then using your remaining plum slices and pistachio crumbs, decorate the top of the cake.  Serve and enjoy.
And for the record, Easter was a magical day.  The weather was sunny and mild, the park held its pink and purple blooms, indulging our imaginations with springy weather.  We didn’t stop the seasons from turning cooler, but still planted new seeds in our hearts, watered with hopes of the fruition of  blossoms.  
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About MyBeautifulAir

Wherever I go, there I am.
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8 Responses to Easter in Autumn: Plum Pistachio Cheesecake

  1. andiperullo says:

    That looks ridiculously delicious!

    • raniakalogirou says:

      I couldn´t agree more. That piece in the fourth picture is seriously calling my name!
      First time i comment on your blog by the way! After all these months it was about time!

  2. This looks great! I’m on such a pistachio kick lately, putting them on everything…this looks like the perfect use. 🙂

  3. Jessica says:

    This is beautiful and the flavors sound amazing! When I went to New Zealand, it was Dec-Feb, so I know what you mean about experiencing flipped seasons. It was so bizarre that they still had snowflake decals on shop windows!

  4. perrip says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe, I’ve been eyeing it since you posted and tomorrow might just be the day. Just one question…I don’t have a juice extractor and am having trouble finding anyone who does, is there another way to get the same effect?

    • Definitely – easy solution because juicers are hard to come by. You can squeeze the orange by hand, or maybe use a fork to help you, and grated ginger will also work instead of juiced ginger. Let me know how it turns out!!

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