Dominique and Me: Cotton Soft Cheesecake

Why does this literally look like a lasagne omg.

The good thing about Ansel’s recipe book is that as well as including some BANGING recipes, it also doubles as a history book ;). Ansel sets to blow the readers mind when announcing that the cheesecake originated from, Ancient Greece, WHO KNEW? Obviously, the cheesecake is arguably most well-known for its New York iteration. Ansel decides to go somewhere no pastry chef in New York has ever gone before – he strays from tradition. (a loud rumble of gasps from every New York restaurant).

Dominique Ansel creates almost a Genoese, cheesecake, mousse and crème brulee hybrid CRAZY. Instead of a traditional biscuit base, Ansel uses an almond sponge, makes a ricotta mousse and finishes the whole thing by bruleeing the top. Me and my mum have been looking forward to this recipe since we first flicked through the book, who doesn’t love a good cheesecake?

There is a single story that always comes to mind when I hear the word cheesecake, its rather off-topic and unnecessary BUT I’m gonna share it with you anyway ;). When I was pretty young, I was watching a Lorraine Pascal cooking show when she came out with the most whack story ever told (it also makes her look incredibly dumb ;)). The story was about how when Lorraine was a teen, she went to her friends’ house for dinner and was informed that they were having cheesecake for dessert. Lorraine Pascal’s EXACT WORDS were: “What?! Some cheddar on a sponge?!”. I honestly don’t think I will ever recover from that story, it clearly scarred me at a fundamental stage in my growth ;).

Like I said, the recipe uses an almond sponge for the base. Unfortunately, Dominique Ansel decides to call it an ‘almond biscuit’ in the recipe and ingredients list. I don’t know about you, but a biscuit is pretty damn different to a sponge ;). The recipe uses more steps than I ever thought possible, and the outcome is an incredibly light sponge, which could easily pass for a Genoese (and if you’re like me and hadn’t read the description yet, you will go through a severe stage of panic wondering why your ‘biscuit’ is so soft ;)).

The true star of this recipe is of course – the ricotta mousse. Ricotta and mousse separately are both some pretty great things so putting them together must be MAGICAL. The ricotta mousse is surprisingly easy to make (intermediate recipe my butt ;)). And trust me, this ricotta mousse tastes of ricotta. That sounds kind of double dutch, but so often cheesecakes end up having their flavour drowned out by high quantities of cream and sugar, this one is full-on ricotta tang.

I had to make a large cheesecake because I would have ended up spending an absolute fortune on presentation rings. The whole thing then gets frozen solid, to ensure the mousse doesn’t melt during the brulee process.

I literally have the lamest blowtorch ever known omg. The whole top of the cheesecake has to be bruleed three times, THREE TIMES (this ensures that the sugar doesn’t dissolve if placed in the fridge etc.). Unfortunately, if like me, your blowtorch has a flame that’s practically the same size as a lighter you’ll be there all-day ;). After roughly 27 hrs, incredibly bad hand cramp and hatred for all things brulee – my cheesecake was finally done ;).

Firstly, I don’t know exactly why but my cheesecake ended up looking like a real toasty lasagne RIP ME. However, once cut into BOY OH BOY it was a good cheesecake. The mousse was incredibly light with a strong ricotta flavour, that was finished PEREFECTLY with the brulee top. Honestly, the brulee is what takes this to new heights.

NEXT UP: Paris-New York (BLIMEY, Ansel sure does like his choux)

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Kind Regards,

Woody ✨