There is one dessert that reminds me of yiayia Anneta, whose kitchen I grew up in. While she made multiple types of traditional desserts that I associate with her, this one in particular no one else that I knew made. It is a ricotta based cheescake that is a regional sepcialty to Kefalonia, where we are from. It can easily be made keto if you only you switch out your sweetener. If you are paleo, feel free to use honey. I opted for monk fruit, but I serve it with a tiny drizzle of honey, as would be traditionally Greek.
The recipe calls for a little bit of fresh dill. I remember it being strange to me because it was a dessert. That little bit of dill serves as a lovely aromatic that you barely taste, leaving only a hint behind. But somehow the flavors all came together so beautifully, in this light sweet cheesecake.
The dill adds a pleasant earthy brightness to the mizithropita. Add the lemon zest, and you amplify that.
Mizithra is, in most basic terms, the Greek version of ricotta cheese. It is a fresh cheese made with milk and whey from sheep or goats milk. In the market you will find it in two forms. It will either be aged and salted, creating a hard cheese that you can grate. Or it will be fresh and creamy much like the Italian ricotta salata.
And this cheesecake is traditionally made with goats milk. However, you can simply replace that with cows milk. If you are following keto, and want to increase the fat content while lowering the carbs, then use heavy cream instead. And that will surely lead to a richer finished product.
4 cups of ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp powdered monk fruit extract (or 1 cup of your favorite sweetener)
1 3/4 cups goats milk (or cows milk)
3 tbsp almond flour
1 sprig of finely chopped dill (or 1 tsp of dry dill)
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Beat your yolks with 1/2 the cinnamon and the monk fruit (or other sweetener) for around 10 minutes until silky. Add in the goats milk, almond flour, dill, ricotta cheese, vanilla, salt and lemon zest. Beat for 10 minutes or till combined and smooth.
Set aside. With the whisk attachment, beat your egg whites into a meringue. When you have achieved stiff peaks, then gently fold the eggs whites into the rest of the mixture.
In a 9 inch buttered pan, pour in your mixture and bake at 400 F for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Or until golden brown and when you can poke it with a toothpick and it comes out clean.
Dust the remaining cinnamon on top and slice it.
It can be eaten both warm and cold.