This ricotta cheesecake recipe isn't a familiar baked cheesecake recipe that we eat here in the US. This is one of our traditional Italian cakes and has a different flavor than a cheesecake you might order in Cheesecake Factory or order in a restaraunt.
So when I say different - it's different than most of the cheesecakes in my baked cheesecake recipe collection. You will notice that the filling is VERY close to traditional cannoli filling recipes. This tastes somewhat like cannoli - but the texture is more firm. It's not a cannoli-ish texture, but has cannoli filling ingredients. Here's why, when you bake this - it settles into a torte. A traditional ricotta cheesecake recipe is low rise and dense and has that cannoli-sh flavor. I just like people to know that before they post on Facebook and wonder if they did something wrong.
Oh and, it's not a typo this really does have NO eggs! At least the way I make it. (My grandma's friends made this with 4 eggs). So - in my picture you can see how it looks with no eggs. If you add the four eggs, you will get more of a rise.
One last thing, my grandma's friends who are from southern Italy make this with a piecrust surrounding the filling. I don't. I stick with the common graham cracker crust - which is more American.
There are a couple of substitutions and ideas listed below.
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* 1 cup superfine sugar (see note below)
* 3 Tablespoons Water
* 5 Tablespoons of pine nuts
* 4 Tablespoons of golden raisins
* 2 Tablespoons of rum
* 1 1/2 pounds of WHOLE ricotta
* 1 teaspoon of grated lemon rind
* 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract (see substitutions below)
* 2 ounces of mini morsels or chopped chocolate
* 1/4 cup of butter (not margarine!)
* 1 Cup of fine graham cracker crumbs
* Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
* Combine the raisins and the rum - put saran on top, or put it in a tupperware - and let it sit for an hour! (Really don't skip this!)
* Now that you have the raisins soaking and the oven pre-heating, let's make the crust!
* In a 1 qt suacepan, heat 1/4 cup of the superfine sugar and the water over high heat.
* Put about 8 full squares of graham crackers in the food processor.
* When it boils and the sugar dissolves, add the pine nuts
* Continue cooking, keep stirring until sugar turns a light brown.
* Pour the hot mixutre onto an oiled baking sheet (or a Silpat - love 'em) and let the brittle cool
* Break the pine nut brittle into small chunks.
* AFTER the raisins have soaked take out a large bowl and combine the ricotta, remaining superfine sugar, lemon rind, raisins, and rum.
* Add the chocolate and pine-nut brittle.
* Mix well
* Bake for
* Look for the cake to NOT jiggle in the middle - be firm - but not cracked
An authentic ricotta cheesecake recipe will almost always call for pine nuts. If you really need something different then consider adding almonds to your crust. But the crunch and flavor of the pine-nuts is such a PLUS it would be a shame to miss it!
I'm gonna say yes. Ricotta by itself is rather bland. And the zest just gives it a 'lil punch in the back of the taste buds. I wouldn't skip it.
To save yourself the cuss words - yes. I was a tight a$$ for so long and never bought superfine sugar. And holy cow, it's not worth it to save a dollar or two. Superfine will make your cheesecake smoother, and it will make the pine-nut brittle less grainy. Just buy it.
If you were to sub - you could maybe think about almond extract, but I haven't tried it to say for sure. I've made it without vanilla (accidentally!). And it's bland. so either leave it in - or experiment and tell me on Facebook how it came out.
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