This dessert was developed by Charles Perry to showcase the exotic perfume of pickled lemons for his story on the history and many uses of pickled lemon in Arabic cuisine. Many tasters found the cheesecake unusual and refreshing. If you want, garnish the cheesecake with slices of pickled lemon.
To pickle a lemon, or a lime, first wash and scrub it with water (there's often a thin layer of wax or other preservative on the peel). Make two cuts at right angles to each other from one end almost to the other, leaving enough uncut so that the fruit can be opened without falling apart, about 1/2 inch. Next, generously salt the exposed flesh, using at least 3 tablespoons per pound of lemons. Put the salted fruit in a big, clean jar and cover with fresh lemon juice or water. Lemon juice gives a better flavor, but resist the temptation to use bottled lemon juice, which gives an unpleasant metallic quality. Put on the lid and leave the jar at room temperature for four or five weeks. Pickled lemons should keep about one year in brine; they also freeze well.
Pickled lemon cheesecake
3/4 cup flour 3 tablespoons sugar 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature 1 egg
Combine flour and sugar in mixing bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture until crumbly. Mix with egg. Knead just until mixture can be formed into ball. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature. Roll out pasta frolla and line 8-inch springform pan with dough.
1 pound ricotta 1 cup sugar 3 eggs 2 pickled lemons, or 3 pickled limes, seeded and diced 3 tablespoons flour
While dough is resting, combine ricotta, sugar and eggs in mixing bowl. Add diced lemons. Stir in flour and mix well.
Pour in ricotta mixture. Bake at 375 degrees 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand 30 minutes before slicing or removing from pan. When cool, refrigerate. Makes 8 servings.