A few bites of cheesecake normally leaves you feeling overstuffed– it's one of the heaviest desserts out there. Delicious, but sometimes a little too much. That's why basing the cake with ricotta makes such a difference. Ricotta is lighter and fluffier. It makes for an altogether more refreshing treat.
The addition of lemon zest makes for a tangy, mildly sweet cake that hits the spot on lazy, summer afternoons. All sorts of Italian desserts combine these two ingredients– ricotta and lemons– with palette-pleasing results. Make sure to stock up on high-quality ricotta (fresh from the farmer's market is ideal!). It makes all the difference.
Ricotta-based cakes are a staple in bakeries all over Italy. They vary in texture and sweetness. We think this recipe provides just the right balance. It's a great alternative to the sticky, sugar-saturated desserts that populate supermarket shelves. Still, it's got just the right touch of sweetness. Try it out for yourself, and you'll understand why it's so well-loved both in Italy and beyond.
Photo credit: Flickr userRowena
Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake
- 1-1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (about 45 wafers)
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 2 pounds fresh, whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- In a small bowl, combine wafer crumbs, butter and lemon peel. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9 1/2-in. springform pan. Bake at 325∞ F for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, stir ricotta with a rubber spatula until it reaches an extremely smooth consistency. Add the sugar and flour into the ricotta, mixing thoroughly.
- Stir in the eggs 1 at a time. Next add in the vanilla, cinnamon, lemon zest, and salt. Mix well. Pour batter into crust.
- Bake in the center of the oven for about 75 to 90 minutes at 300∞ F, until the cake is a light golden color. When it's ready, the center should be fairly firm, and the point of a sharp knife inserted in the center will come out clean.
- Cool cake on a wire rack. Cover, and chill till serving time.
- Buon appetito!
Recipe adapted fromallrecipes.com