Sunday, June 20, 2010

Honey Ricotta Cheesecake

It's Father's Day and dads deserve a treat today. There's no doubt, dads play a special role in the lives of their bambini. Just this week Roman started showering his Papa with kisses and unbridled squeals of joy upon arrival from work. What a gift. I thought I'd show my gratitude for P. by making him something truly scrumptious- a cheesecake in the style of the Ancient Romans, who apparently made it with ricotta. His reaction? "Possibly the best cheesecake I've ever had in my life."

This was my first time baking a cheesecake. I was always turned off by the amount of cream cheese in most recipes. I was won over by this recipe because of the ricotta. Since we've been in Italy, I have developed a real love for ricotta. Ricotta has many more uses than just lasagna. I love to spread it on toast, eat it with fruit, salads, or mixed with honey, pine nuts and orange zest just like they serve at this wonderful establishment. I have been searching for a ricotta tart recipe, and I came across this, by Giada di Laurentis. The crust is made with biscotti and can be made with your eyes closed. This cake can and should be made ahead since it needs to be chilled. It's decadent eaten for breakfast with coffee.

Honey Ricotta Cheesecake

8 ounces purchased biscotti (I used biscotti with almonds)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
12 ounces fresh whole milk ricotta, drained
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange blossom or clover honey
1 tablespoon orange zest
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350.

Finely grind the biscotti in a food processor. Add the melted butter and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom (not the sides) of a 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack. In a clean food processor, blend the ricotta until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl. Blend in the honey and orange zest. Add the eggs and pulse just until blended.

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 5 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold).

Transfer the cake to a rack and cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Cut the cake into wedges and serve.


  1. Yum!!! I love ricotta cheesebake - it's so much tastier than the New York style. Dore is the King of Cheesecake - he makes one for friends' birthdays, with a giant dollop of chocolate whipped cream on top. For the last celebration, he added a layer of chocolate mousse as well. He is going to make your version soon. Happy Fathers Day to Preston. Lots of love, Uncle

  2. looks delicious! I'll be making strawberry rhubarb pie for dad and a cherry pie for Henry today....very far out of my league! wish me luck :)

  3. oh and happy first Father's Day Preston!!

  4. Actually it's his second fathers day! We celebrated Italian father's day in March! Why they have a different one, I don't know! Good luck on the pies today!!! I cannot find rhubarb here. I asked at the market and they said it would be about 50$ a lb. not happening!

  5. Whooee, Nicole!! That really sounds good! Ahh, ricotta ... thirty-five years later, sometimes I still miss Bella Italia. Alas ...



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