Ricotta Cheesecake

 

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.

Ricotta Cheesecake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 1 nine-inch cake
 
Best if made the day before.
Ingredients
  • 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
Method
  1. 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.
  2. Place the ricotta cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with a whisk attachment until combined.
  3. Mix in the cornstarch and salt.
  4. Add the eggs, all at once is fine, and beat until well blended.
  5. Finally, stir in the orange and lemon zests and vanilla.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

 

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