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How to make ricotta cheesecake

Nonna’s classic ricotta cheesecake. The Sicilian ricotta cheesecake is another version of the cassata: the same ingredients used to make it are combined in a simple recipe to produce this delicious dessert prepared on holidays and special occasions. 

In fact the eggs and flour are the main components to bake the sponge, pane di Spagna; the ricotta, sugar and orange zest are the basic elements to make the filling of the Cassata Siciliana.

To enrich the taste of the ricotta cheesecake, add 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips or chunks, 1 tablespoon of toasted pine nuts and either 3 tablespoons diced candied fruits or raisins; don’t forget to presoak and coat the raisins with flour.  

The filling can be mixed by hand, but we suggest using an electric mixer in order to make it smooth and simplify this part of the preparation.  


SERVING: 8 to 12 


  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 ½ cups finely crushed shortbread or pasta frolla cookies
  • 2 lb. ricotta cheese
  • 6 oz. granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 oz. flour
  • Fresh zest from 1 orange
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt 



The Filling 

Ahead of time, in a large bowl, place the flour and sugar, mix well; add the ricotta and blend until smooth.

flour, sugar and ricotta being mixed

Add the eggs and yolks, one at a time: blend the mixture well and make sure there are no lumps.

flour, sugar, ricotta and egg being mixed

The add the zest of orange, cinnamon, vanilla and the optional chocolate, pine nuts and candied diced fruits or the raisins.

zest of orange, cinnamon, vanilla chocolate, pine nuts and candied diced fruits 

Can be prepared ahead of time and kept refrigerated. 

The crust 

Preheat the oven to 350 F. 

Combine the crumbed cookies with the butter; in a 9-inch round springform pan press the crumb mixture at the bottom and side of it. 

If you like, use crumbled amaretto cookies to give extra flavor and taste. 


The Cake 

Mix the filling with a wooden spoon to aerate and make it silky-smooth.  

Pour filling over the crust and smooth the top evenly. 

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 F, then tent with aluminum foil, lower the oven temperature to 325 F and bake it for an additional 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center, comes out clean. 

Cool for 30 minutes and gently remove side of pan.

ricotta cheesecake crust ricotta cheesecake


The Serving 

Serve at room temperature and garnish with a light dust of powdered sugar.

ricotta cheesecake ricotta cheesecake ricotta cheesecake


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