30 years to this day. It was a Friday the 13th. I knew Lewis was going to propose to me the next day, Valentine’s Day. We were going upstate to look at property in Sullivan County and I had planned and prepped an elaborate picnic lunch of Fried Chicken, French Potato Salad and Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce. I remember it like it was yesterday! I had hinted, ok – demanded, a rectangle-shaped ruby ring surrounded by diamonds. Anyone old enough will remember Princess Diana’s sapphire ring from the 1980’s. I was set on a more angular look.
We found a property that day and our new neighbors burnt down our ramshackle farmhouse just 3 days after we purchased it. Yes, you heard me right.. Life isn’t always serving up raspberry kisses! We camped on the property for 2-1/2 years, even honeymooning in a tent in the middle of the hemlock forest, and actually conceived Kendra there. However, the neighbor’s attack continued unabated, adding the very large other neighbor who dozed down a couple hundred feet of our stone fence. The continual harassment became more than just annoying but frighteningly dangerous, with bullets actually grazing the leaves above our heads. On top of that, the pediatrician was horrified that we were taking a 2 week old camping with nighttime summer temps dipping to the low 50’s in the Catskills. And so our camping days came abruptly to an end. Happily, it would only be two years until we could get the kids out of Brooklyn and to our sweet little farm in Bucks County.
Lewis never made it to Valentine’s Day, falling to his knees immediately upon entering our storefront loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Friday, February 13, 1986.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 tablespoons flour, divided
- 2 cups fresh ricotta, at room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 8- ounce package, cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1¼ cups sugar, divided
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, plus more for decorating top of cheesecake
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/16 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, optional
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform baking pan, using 2 tablespoons of flour.
- Whisk together in a large glass bowl the ricotta, sour cream and cream cheese. Do not over beat.
- In another bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons flour, 1 cup sugar, egg yolks, lemon and orange rind and salt, until thoroughly combined. whisk together the cheese and egg mixtures, until thoroughly combined.
- Beat the egg whites in another bowl, until light and fluffy. Add the remaining sugar and beat to combine. Fold the egg whites into the cheese/egg mixture by adding ⅓ of the egg whites at a time, carefully folding in until just combined.
- Pour into the baking pan, place on a baking sheet and place in the oven, with oven rack placed in the middle. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Lower oven temperature to 225 degrees and bake an additional 1 hour or more. The cheesecake is done when the center is set (not jiggly) and the top is lightly browned.
- Place on a cooling rack and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
- Place the raspberries, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a heavy medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, smashing the fruit with a potato masher. Strain into a glass bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate.
Tegan’s birthday is in two days on the 15th, the day after and missing her due date of Valentine’s Day.! We’re always a bit off.
Happy Valentine’s Day