The Mailbox: Casa Garden’s cheesecake

Thank you for a great food section on Wednesdays. It’s the first part of the paper I read.

I am looking for two recipes. One is for a good lamb shank recipe and the other is for a good short rib recipe. Thanks.

George Halaway, Sacramento

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Red velvet cheesecake

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Serves 8 to 12

Stand/chill time: 9+ hours

Valerie Reynosa Piotrowski of El Dorado Hills enjoyed lunch last summer at the Casa Garden Restaurant at the Sacramento Children’s Home on Sutterville Road in Sacramento. She had a delicious red velvet cheesecake for dessert and was hoping for the recipe.

We heard from the Casa Garden Restaurant who graciously shared their recipe. The Casa Garden Restaurant operates solely to benefit the Sacramento Children’s Home.

Note: You can buy chocolate wafers for the crust in the cookie aisle of your supermarket.

For the crust:

1  1/2 cups Oreo crumbs without filling (see note above)

1/2 cup butter, melted

For the filling:

24 ounces cream cheese, softened

1  1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon white vinegar

Red food coloring

For the topping:

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the garnish:

Pink crystal sugar and mint sprig

For the crust: Mix crumbs and butter by hand. Firmly press mixture into a springform pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes, then cool completely.

For the filling: With an electric mixer, beat 24 ounces cream cheese and 1 ½ cups sugar for one minute. Add eggs, cocoa powder, sour cream, ricotta cheese, heavy cream, vanilla and white vinegar. Mix until combined. Add food coloring, one drop at a time, until color is to your liking. Pour batter into cooled crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and continue baking for 1 hour and 15 minutes (up to an additional 15 minutes) until center of cake is set (firm). Remove from oven. Run knife along edge of cheesecake. Turn oven off. Return cake to oven and leave for 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake and let cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

For the topping: Before serving and cutting prepare topping. With electric mixer at medium speed beat 3 ounces cream cheese and butter until smooth, gradually adding powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread evenly over top of cheesecake.

To serve: Remove spring form, cut and garnish with pink crystal sugar and mint sprig.