I AM the cheese queen

                                       Stealth Chocolate Layer

A reporter from the local paper called me last week to discuss my cheesemaking skilz (they are minimal), and I got invited to a mozzarella making party in May.  To maintain my proficiency I made two cheese-based desserts this weekend.

The first was "Black Bottomed Ricotta Pie" from Ken Haedrich's book, "Pie."  I bought this book back in ~2005 after first checking it out at a local library.  It has yet to fail me.  This pie is fantastic warm or chilled.  However, once chilled, the chocolate layer is rock-like.  Next time I will cut it prior to refrigeration.

The chocolate layer is chilled and then covered with a ricotta custard.  It calls for a graham cracker crust, and I used the one from "Momofuku Milk Bar."  You could even use a store bought graham crust if you have one lying around.

Adapted from Black Bottom Ricotta Cheese Pie:

1 9" graham cracker crust

BLACK BOTTOM COATING

2 TBS butter

1 TBS Karo syrup

3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Melt above together in a microwave until softened and then stir til smooth.  Coat bottom and most of the sides of pie crust and chill in freezer while you prepare filling.

FILLING

1.5 cups ricotta (I made my own--it's worth the minimal effort involved)

2/3 cup sugar

3 large eggs

2 tsp grated orange zest

1 tsp vanilla

pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Beat ricotta/eggs/sugar together until evenly mixed.  Add zest, extract and salt and beat until blended.  Pour into prepared pie crust.  Bake on center oven rack for 30 min, then rotate pie and bake  for another 15 minutes.  The center will be set and the edge will be golden brown and have risen slightly.

Cool on wire rack.  Serve barely warm or refrigerate.

Stay tuned for the Grapefruit Tiramisu post in which I make my own mascarpone!  True story.