Sicilian Ricotta Cheesecake

(recipe compliments of Mathom Farm, Gunns Plains)

75g (½ cup) hazelnuts
480g (2 cups) fresh Mathom Farmgate goats' milk ricotta
100g (½ cup) caster sugar
125g (½ cup) Mathom Farmgate natural yoghurt
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 x 100g pkt Lindt 70% cocoa dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
95g (½ cup) mixed peel
2 tbs brandy
Icing sugar mixture, to dust

Shortcrust pastry
150g (1 cup) plain flour
55g (½ cup) almond meal
60g (⅓ cup) icing sugar mixture
125g chilled butter, chopped
1 egg yolk

To make the pastry, place the flour, almond meal, icing sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and process until the dough just starts to come together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Shape into a disc and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
Preheat oven to 200C. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 3mm-thick disc. Line a round 20cm (base measurement) fluted tart tin, with removable base, with pastry and trim any excess. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to rest. Meanwhile, spread the hazelnuts over a baking tray and bake in oven for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Place the hazelnuts on a clean tea towel and rub to remove the skins. Coarsely chop. Combine the hazelnuts, ricotta, sugar, sour cream, egg, chocolate, mixed peel and brandy in a large bowl.
Cover the pastry base with baking paper and fill with pastry weights, rice or dried beans. Place on a baking tray and bake in oven for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and weights, rice or dried beans and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 180C.
Spoon the ricotta mixture into the pastry base and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until filling is just set. Turn oven off. Leave the cheesecake in the oven, with the door ajar, for 1 hour or until cool (this will prevent the cake from cracking). Remove from oven and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 2 hours to chill. Dust with icing sugar to serve.