Honey Almond Ricotta Cheesecake
Updated: Jul 4, 2021
With Honeycomb, Honey Almond Butter Glaze, and Toasted Almond Graham Cracker Crust
Believe it or not, this brainchild came to me while I was in the middle of proctoring the SATs. What can I say? My creative flow is fueled by watching teenagers painfully toil over a standardized test (queue evil laugh). MWAHAHAHA!
This was my first time actually making a cheeseCAKE rather than cupcakes or tarts. I wanted to do something stately and sophisticated based around Barr Hill Raw Honey. When I was first introduced to this liquid gold a few years ago while working at a craft beer and spirits distributor, I was blown away. I did not know what honey was until I tried it. It is beautifully floral and rich and will make you question the next time you go shopping for honey.
And if you think I had to break the bank to make this cheesecake, think again! Almost all of the ingredients I purchased were from my local Aldi. You can get high quality ingredients for less money shopping at Aldi. This lady needs to save her pennies for her leather collection!
HONEYCOMB: 1 cup granulated sugar
¼ light corn syrup
2 tbsp Barr Hill Raw Honey
½ cup water
2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp almond milk
1 tbsp Barr Hill Raw Honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp clove
¼ tsp sea salt
1 sleeve Honey Maid Honey Graham Crackers
½ cup raw almonds, toasted & chopped
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
30 oz part-skim ricotta, well drained
4 oz neufchâtel cheese, cubed
½ cup heavy cream, room temp
4 large eggs, separated at room temp
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 tsp almond extract
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
Toasted chopped almonds
Graham cracker crumbles
Line a large 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper. Do not worry that it does not lay flat. The honeycomb will weigh it down when it is poured in later. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, add the sugar and give the pan a shake to spread it out in a flat, even layer. Add corn syrup, honey, and water, so all of the sugar has been moistened, but DO NOT STIR. Turn the heat to medium high, and be sure to watch closely as the sugar begins to dissolve and the ingredients start to combine together.
Cook the mixture to 300°F, which should take about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the strength of your stove. Remove from heat and whisk in the baking soda for about 5 seconds. Once the mixture has stopped foaming, immediately pour onto the prepared baking sheet.
Let cool for at least 1 hour until hardened, then break into pieces.
Store in an airtight container until ready to garnish the cake.
ALMOND BUTTER GLAZE:
Sift together the confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and sea salt using a sieve in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond butter, almond milk, honey, and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients until well combined. NOTE: Add additional confectioners’ sugar for a stiffer glaze.
Transfer to an airtight container, cover, and store at room temperature until ready to layer on top of the cake.
NOTE: Feel free to make the glaze a day ahead to save time on bake day!
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
Heat a medium nonstick frying pan over medium heat and add the almonds. Spread the nuts evenly in the pan and allow them to sit for 10 to 15 seconds, then stir again. Keep stirring every 10 to 15 seconds for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the nuts become fragrant. Be careful not to let them burn on any hotspots! Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl. Allow to cool completely.
Once the almonds are cool, manually pulse them in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
In a food processor, manually pulse 2 or 3 sheets of graham crackers at time until small crumbs form. Transfer to the bowl with the chopped almonds and repeat to the remaining graham crackers.
Add the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to the crumbs and mix to combine.
Stir in the melted butter until well combined and all of the crumbles are wet.
Tightly wrap a couple pieces of foil around the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan so it is covered about halfway (this will prevent any water from potentially getting into the pan during the baking process - see Filling instructions).
Transfer the crumbles to the springform pan. Evenly press into the bottom of the pan to make a layer that is a little more than a ¼-inch. Cover with saran wrap and place in the refrigerator to allow the crust to firm up.
Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 325°F.
With a paper towel, remove any excess graham cracker and almond crumbs from the food processor bowl and blade.
Using a sieve, sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
Separate the eggs, placing the whites in the bowl of a standing mixer and the yolks in the bowl of the food processor. NOTE: Be careful not to get any yolks in the whites!
Add the sugar and vanilla to the food processor with the egg yolks and process on low until thick and yellow, about 1 minute. Add the ricotta and lemon zest and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. On low speed, add the neufchâtel cheese a few cubes at a time and process until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Using the whisk attachment on the stand mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until they hold stiff peaks. Gradually fold the whites into the ricotta mixture and return to the bowl of the standing mixer.
On medium low speed, mix in the heavy cream and lemon juice. Gradually mix in the flour mixture until well combined.
Remove the crust from the refrigerator and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Using a large serving spoon, gradually add the ricotta mixture on top of the crust. Use a small spatula to evenly spread the ricotta mixture.
Place the cake and baking sheet on the oven rack. Then pour enough boiling water into the baking sheet to cover about a quarter of the springform pan, but not above the foil. Slowly and carefully slide the oven rack into the oven to avoid spilling any of the boiling water. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the sides of the cheesecake are set but the center is still slightly wobbly.
Carefully remove from the oven, set the springform pan on a wire cooling rack, and allow to cool completely. Carefully discard the boiling water from the baking sheet. Remove the foil from the sides of the pan, cover with saran wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight to set. It will taste the best the day after it is baked!
Remove from the refrigerator and take off the sides of the springform pan. Evenly spread the glaze on top of the cake (Don’t be afraid to let the glaze run down the sides!). Decorate the top of the cake with the extra crust mixture and large pieces of honeycomb. Enjoy!