Italian Cheesecake, NY style
The other day I was reading various food blogs and came upon a post that included cheesecake squares. I automatically knew what I had to do – I had to make and eat cheesecake right away. So I did my usual – looked on epicurious – and chose this recipe.
3 tablespoons finely crushed amaretti (crisp Italian macaroons) or plain fine dry bread crumbs
2 pounds fresh ricotta at room temperature 30 minutes
6 large eggs at room temperature 30 minutes
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Equipment: an 8-inch springform pan
Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in lower third.
Lightly butter pan and coat with cookie crumbs, leaving any loose crumbs distributed over bottom of pan.
Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour into crust.
Bake until puffed and golden but center is still slightly wobbly, about 1 1/2 hours.
Cool in pan on a rack (cake will sink a little).
Serve cheesecake warm or at room temperature.
I chose it for the following reasons. 1) I don’t like desserts that are too sweet. Ricotta cheesecake is known to be lighter than other styles and I wasn’t in the mood for the heaviness of a cream cheese style cake. 2) The recipe, though it took a few hours, would be ready that night. Nothing needed to sit overnight. Thus, immediate gratification 3) My mom loves me telling about her morning sickness while pregnant with me. Ricotta cheesecake was one of the only things she could eat. So I thought it would be sweet to make some for H and me. Maybe I’ll surprise her with one next time she comes over.
Here are a few pictures of the process. First is the ricotta, second is the batter being whisked and third is the batter being laid onto the crust. Note about the crust: I decided to fore-go the amaretti and use Nilla wafers instead. I got the idea here. I love Nilla wafers, they are so sweetly nostalgic to me, and seemed more affordable. Plus, it was the first time making my own crust, and I was excited. Wanted to work with something I knew to avoid any foul-ups.
I also thought homemade whipped cream and fresh strawberries would be the perfect accompaniment. Here is a picture of the cream being whipped. I don’t care if you’re awful in the kitchen. Homemade whipped cream is incredibly easy to make and tastes SO MUCH BETTER. There’s really no need to ever buy it again.
Below is the final product. I was too excited and didn’t let the cake properly cool. So some of the cream melted and slid off the cake. Oh well. H, my much more patient partner, decided to put his slice in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving. Definitely tastes much better that way. Enjoy!