Ricotta Cheesecake with Fresh Raspberries
Doesn’t this cake look like it belongs in an Italian pastry shop window? The recipe was inspired by the “Obsessive Ricotta Cheesecake” in Gina DePalma’s Dolce Italiano, Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen, one of the best cookbooks I’ve come across in a long, long time. Made with cream cheese, ricotta cheese and a ground almond crust, the cake is a hybrid between an American-style cheesecake and an Italian-style cheesecake. The fruit topping is my addition; the tart sweetness of the jam and fresh raspberries is the perfect contrast to the cake, which isn’t overly sweet. The best part is that it’s easy to make: unlike most cheesecakes, you don’t have to worry about the top cracking (or fuss with a water bath) because it all gets covered with fruit anyway.
Before we begin, here’s what you’ll need for the cake (above) and the topping (below).
Start by spraying a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Dust with flour and tap out any excess.
For the crust, combine the almonds, flour, sugar and salt in a food processor.
Process until the nuts are finely chopped.
In a separate small bowl, combine the melted butter with the vanilla and egg yolk.
Add the liquid mixture to the nut mixture.
Process until the mixture is well combined. It will look moistened and crumbly.
Dump the mixture into the prepared pan.
And press into an even layer. You can use your hands or the bottom of a measuring cup.
Chill the crust in the freezer for about 10 minutes, then bake at 325°F for 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden.
Meanwhile, make the filling.
Add the cream cheese, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Process until soft and creamy, about 1 minute.
Add the ricotta and process until the mixture is smooth and light, another 2 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for about 10 seconds after each addition.
Add the vanilla, amaretto, cornstarch and orange zest.
Process for a few seconds to combine.
Pour the filling on top of the baked crust.
And bake for about 50 minutes, until the outside is set and the center is jiggly but not liquid.
It will sink and crack a bit as it cools — that’s okay since it all gets covered with fruit anyway. Let it cool completely, then chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Before serving, spread the raspberry jam over top of the cheesecake, leaving a small border around the edges.
Arrange the raspberries neatly on top.
Then dust lightly with Confectioners’ sugar.
Serve and enjoy!
Note: I made a few changes to DePalma’s cake recipe: I used raw slivered almonds instead of toasted sliced almonds for the crust; I made the filling in a food processor instead of a mixer; and I added a raspberry jam and fresh raspberry topping.
Ricotta Cheesecake with Fresh Raspberries
For the Crust
- 3/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Filling
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature (preferably Philadelphia brand)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 32-ounce tub (about 4 cups) whole milk ricotta (do not use low fat)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon amaretto (rum or Grand Marnier may be substituted)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons orange zest, from one orange
For the Topping
- 1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam, best quality
- 8 ounces (about 2-1/2 cups) fresh raspberries (you'll need a pint but you'll have extra)
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray; dust it evenly with flour and tap out any excess.
- To make the crust: place the almonds, flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until the nuts are finely chopped and the mixture looks sandy. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, cooled melted butter and vanilla. Add the liquid mixture to the nut mixture and pulse several times until the ingredients are well combined, moistened and crumbly. Dump the mixture into the prepared pan and, using your fingers or the bottom of a measuring cup, press into an even layer. Place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes (or the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes) to chill; then bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden. Let cool on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine the cream cheese, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until soft and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the ricotta and process until the mixture is smooth and light, another 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing for 5-10 seconds between each addition. Add the vanilla, amaretto, cornstarch and orange zest and process until mixture is just combined (do not overmix).
- Pour the filling into the crust, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake the cheesecake for about 50 minutes, until the top is lightly golden, the edges are set and the center is quite jiggly but not totally liquid (it will continue to cook as it cools). Carefully remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. It will sink a bit and crack as it cools -- that's okay. Once the cheesecake is cool, place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
- For the topping: After the cake has chilled, spread the raspberry jam evenly over the top of the cheesecake, leaving a 3/4-inch border around the edge of the cake (essentially, the jam goes on the sunken part of the cake). Place the raspberries evenly over top. Using a fine sieve, dust the top of the cake with Confectioners' sugar. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The cake keeps well for several days.
- Per serving (12 servings)
- Serving size: 1 slice
- Calories: 382
- Fat: 23g
- Saturated fat: 12g
- Carbohydrates: 32g
- Sugar: 22g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 13g
- Sodium: 207mg
- Cholesterol: 126mg
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