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.
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
Ahead of time, in a large bowl, place the flour and sugar, mix well; add the ricotta and blend until smooth.
Add the eggs and yolks, one at a time: blend the mixture well and make sure there are no lumps.
The add the zest of orange, cinnamon, vanilla and the optional chocolate, pine nuts and candied diced fruits or the raisins.
Can be prepared ahead of time and kept refrigerated.
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.
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.
Serve at room temperature and garnish with a light dust of powdered sugar.