This is the brunch cake for a Saturday morning. Especially a Saturday with a sister, around 11-ish a.m. in your mom’s kitchen.

It’s not so much a casserole as a fantastic set of layers — a ribbon of feather-light cheesecake runs between a couple of buttery coffee cake layers, which has a super-thin sugar-cinnamon crust.

Each piece is served warm from the oven, topped with a few saucy strawberries.

While trying to talk to my sister and bake, I forgot to add the sugar to the cake batter.

I tossed together a little sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkled it over the cake.

The mistake led to a sugar-crisp topping that contrasts nicely with the soft coffee cake-cheesecake layers.

I’ve been trying to find a good ricotta recipe.

I really wanted to like ricotta, but the recipes I tried (like a baked berry ricotta French toast thing) were too tangy.

However, this blintz has done me in.

I really, really like ricotta now.

 

The cake serves about six to eight. Maybe.

Ricotta Blintz Casserole with Strawberries

adapted from “Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes,” by Jeanne Kelley

For filling:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • zest of 1/2 an orange
  • 1 egg
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese, part-skim or whole milk (I used part-skim)

For batter:

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (heaping)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For sugar-crisp topping:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For strawberries:

  • 1 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • zest of 1/3 an orange

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter or spray a 13 inch oval casserole/baking dish with vegetable spray.

Filling — Beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in sugar, egg and orange zest. Stir in ricotta. Refrigerate while preparing the rest of the recipe. (Mixture can be covered and refrigerated at this point for up to one day.)

Sugar-crisp topping — In small bowl, stir together both sugars and cinnamon. Set aside.

Batter — In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in melted butter, then eggs, milk and vanilla until combined.

Carefully spread 1/3 of the cake batter across the bottom of the pan (it will be a very thin layer), covering bottom completely. Pour filling over the batter. Carefully drop small spoonfuls of the remaining batter evenly over the batter. Spread batter over the filling with spoon or fingers (my batter did not cover all of the filling). Sprinkle the sugar-crisp mixture evenly over the entire surface of the casserole.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until top is golden brown and puffed. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Strawberries — Around the time the casserole is pulled from the oven, combine strawberries, sugar and orange zest in a bowl. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes, until sugar is completely dissolved.

To serve — Top slices of warm blintz with strawberries. Enjoy!

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