Mario Batali Recipe: Nectarine and Black Pepper Cheesecake
Yes, Mario Batali uses black pepper in this cheesecake recipe.
Makes one 9-inch cheesecake; serves 8 to 10
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 ripe nectarines, pitted, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra melted butter for brushing the pan.
1 ½ cups graham-cracker crumbs
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 ¼ cups mascarpone, at room temperature
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
10 ounces fresh ricotta, drained, at room temperature
1 tablespoon almond extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
1. In a 12-inch saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat until just smoking. Add the nectarine slices and saute for 2 minutes, or until just softened. Add the black pepper and toss to mix well. Transfer the nectarines to a strainer, set the strainer on a plate to catch the juices, and allow to cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
3. Brush melted butter over the bottom and sides of a 3-inch-deep 9-inch springform pan. Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan.
4. In a small bowl, combine the graham-cracker crumbs, the 8 tablespoons melted butter, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir together thoroughly. Press the mixture over the bottom of the parchment-lined pan.
5. In a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the cream cheese, ricotta and remaining 1 cup sugar, and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.
6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond extract, eggs and heavy cream.
7. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the liquid mixture, stopping and scraping the bowl two or three times to incorporate all the ingredients. Using a spatula, gently stir in the drained nectarines (reserve the drained liquid in a small bowl) until completely combined.
8. Prepare a water bath by filling a broiler pan or a baking dish halfway with hot tap water. Place the pan in the oven. Use foil to cover the bottom and high enough up the sides of the springform pan so that water does not get into the springform.
9. Pour the prepared mixture into the springform pan. Set the springform pan into the water bath. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours, until the cheesecake is set.
10. Turn the oven off, open the oven door, and allow the cheesecake to stand in the turned-off oven for 30 minutes. Then remove the springform from the water bath, place it in the refrigerator, and chill for 3 hours.
11. Shortly before serving, pour the reserved drained nectarine liquid into a small saucepan, and reduce it slowly over low heat until syrupy.
12. Remove the springform pan sides and transfer the cheesecake to a platter. Slice it with a hot knife (warm it under hot running water, dry it, and slice), and serve each slice with a drizzle of the nectarine syrup.
From "Molto Batali" by Mario Batali