For months our friend, Bobby, has been talking about ricotta cheesecake. We had dinner at their home on Saturday and I decided to surprise him with a cake. I scoured my Italian cookbooks and then my baking cookbooks and couldn’t find a recipe. I turned to the internet and found three that use only ricotta cheese.
All three were similar. Each required 6 eggs, the quantity of ricotta varied from 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, sugar from 2/3 to 3/4 cup, salt from none to 1/4 teaspoon and allrecipes.com included 1/3 cup flour. The flavorings varied from vanilla and salt to the zest of either an orange or lemon, or both, and cinnamon.
I opted for two pounds whole milk ricotta cheese and 2/3 cup sugar to add a subtle amount of sweetness. There’s lots of moisture in the cheese and eggs so I decided to use a starch to maintain structure. I chose cornstarch for a delicate texture, its binding properties are not as strong as wheat flour. Salt is a given, it highlights flavors. Next I added four large eggs. The batter was too thick so I added one more and the consistency was just right. For flavorings I liked the idea of both orange and lemon zests and some vanilla to round things out.
The cake was a success. I thought the sweetness, texture and flavors were just what I had hoped for. Bobby said he’d prefer a cake with more height. Next time I’ll try a smaller springform pan.
- 2 pounds whole milk ricotta cheese
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar, plus more for the pan
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 5 large eggs
- zest of 1 medium orange, about 1 tablespoon
- zest of 1 large lemon, about 1½ teaspoons
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 300ºF and lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Sprinkle a generous tablespoon of sugar over the bottom of the pan and turn on a slant to coat the sides.
- Place the ricotta cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with a whisk attachment until combined.
- Mix in the cornstarch and salt.
- Add the eggs, all at once is fine, and beat until well blended.
- Finally, stir in the orange and lemon zests and vanilla.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 1 hour 20 minutes. The cake is done when it’s set in the center and the sides are lightly golden brown.
- Remove the to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes. At this point you want to loosen the cake from the sides of the springform pan with a sharp knife. Just run it along the side. Now you can unsnap the side of the pan or not. I was traveling with my cake and wanted to leave the sides on for protection. Once the cake has cooled, refrigerate.
- About 1 hour before dessert, take the cake out of the refrigerator to bring to room temperature.
* The websites were allrecipes.com, foodnetwork.com and marthastewart.com.