My daughter and son-and-in-law came over for lunch a few days after Christmas.
I had some ricotta leftover from our Christmas Eve party so I decided to make a ricotta cheesecake. This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Patricia Well’s “Trattoria.” Lunch began with a bowl of Harira.
She writes: “This is a delicate, tenderly sweet, and crustless ricotta cheesecake, studded lightly with pine nuts and raisins, and harboring a faint hint of lemon, orange, and spice. I frankly prefer it to the heavier, richer American-style cheesecake, and strongly recommend that cheesecake lovers add it to their repertoire. I sampled this desert one sunny Saturday in December, at the excellent family-run Trattoria Checchino dal 1887, in Rome.
Unsalted butter and all-purpose flour for preparing the cake pan
1 cup Vanilla Sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 pounds whole-mil ricotta (or two 15-ounces containers)
6 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (I used powdered.)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Grated zest of 1 orange
Confectioner’s sugar, for garnish (I did not use this as I am not a big fan of it.)
1. Preheat the oven to 300.
2. Generously butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan, tapping out any excess flour. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, stir together the vanilla sugar, flour, pine nuts, raisins, and salt. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, gently beat the ricotta at low speed until smooth. Add the beaten eggs little by little, then add the vanilla sugar mixture and gently mix to blend. Ass the spices, vanilla, and zests. Mix to blend thoroughly.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake until the cheesecake is a deep golden brown and fairly firm in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about in hour and 30 minutes. Transfer to a baking rack to cool. Once cooled, cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving times. (The cake can be make up to 1 day in advance.).
6. To serve, release the side of the springform pan, leaving the cheesecake on the pan base. Sprinkle the top generously with confectioner’s sugar and serve, cutting into very thin wedges.
NOTE: I halved the recipe and I beat the mixture by hand. The ricotta cheesecake was delicious!