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Classic dessert named for a priest

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Sometimes, a recipe has a peculiar name, often without any mention of how or why its name was given to it. Many times, the recipe is still great, whatever it's called! It's fun to come across these recipes and that leads me to the one I have for today.

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Back in the 1980's, I came across a cheesecake recipe named for a priest named "Father Sarducci". In my research on this recipe, there's different theories as to how and why this great dessert got its name. The recipe first turned up in a cookbook published by a Junior Charity League in Texas around 1984. Though the recipe in that book didn't give an explanation as to the name, it was theorized that it was named for the then popular character on NBC's "Saturday Night Live", "Father Sarducci", who was played by the brilliant actor Don Novello.

This same source went on to say that another theory is that the recipe was published in the 1960's, having come from a parish secretary in a Catholic church. Nonetheless, nobody's been able to lay claim to the recipe. Oddly enough, there's never been a Father Sarducci in the New York area and none of the cheese manufacturers are able to claim it as their recipe, either. Though it's shrouded in mystery, let's look at the recipe for "Cheesecake Father Sarducci".

This recipe is very Italian, since it uses ricotta cheese in addition to cream cheese. One other surprise is that there's no crust with this dessert, so that makes it easier to prepare! Another surprise is that it calls for melted butter, which is not usually added to a cheesecake mixture. It gets some thickening from flour and cornstarch and is flavored with vanilla and lemon juice. As you can see, this is a rich, yet special, cheesecake!

You'll see in the recipe that it calls for extra-large eggs. In the event you don't have this size egg, four of the large eggs will work fine. Also, you'll see that the cake is mixed rather different from typical cheesecakes. The ricotta and sour cream are combined, then the cream cheese is added and beaten until smooth. The remaining ingredients are added and finally, the mixture is mixed for five minutes. This goes into a 10-inch springform pan and is baked. You'll likely see some cracking on the surface of the cake, but this is common with cheesecakes.

It's wonderful just as it is, but it can be topped with sweetened, fresh fruits or canned pie fillings, if you choose. You'll need to make this dessert in advance due to the cooling times it has in and out of the oven, followed by chilling. It'll be a hit with your company and a great conversation piece, too!

Another cheesecake I gave sometime ago was for a "Crustless Cheesecake", which is much like this one except it doesn't use ricotta cheese and is topped with a sour cream topping. In case you missed this article, follow this link below:

http://www.examiner.com/article/cheesecake-without-a-crust

Regardless of who "Father Sarducci" is, his cheesecake is indeed sensational! Try it for yourself and see!

CHEESECAKE FATHER SARDUCCI

  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 pkgs. (8 oz.) each cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 teaspoons lemon juice

Combine the ricotta cheese and sour cream in a bowl and beat slowly. Continuing to beat slowly, add the cream cheese, sugar and butter. Increase speed to medium and add the eggs, flour, cornstarch, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Beat on the highest speed of the electric mixer without splattering for 5 minutes more. Turn the mixture into a greased 10-inch springform pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Turn heat off and let it sit in the oven with the door closed for 1 hour more. Remove and cool on a cake rack. Release from the pan, cover and chill about 6-8 hours before serving. Yield: 1 10-inch cheesecake.

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