Friday, July 25, 2014

Sicilian Ricotta Cheesecake

So, (in effort to back my promise of making fresh, delicious, homemade, authentic Italian desserts for my parents little Trattoria), I have tackled a Ricotta Cheesecake!
After searching through multiple recipes, which I usually do.  I realized that the ingredients are very basic, and quite frankly, so is the process.  I guess things would have gone easier with out my toddler crawling in between my legs the whole time and wanting to play with the measuring spoons and cups.
Side note: I picked up the ricotta in South Philly yesterday at a small Italian specialty shop on 13th and Passyunk Ave. called Mancuso's.  It was a cute store and had so many Italian products, it brought me back to the days of shopping at Altimonte's market when I was a child (prior to the large expansion it is today).  I even had to pick up the tasty pear nectar juice.

Anyway, here is the recipe I created by pretty much combining Martha Stewart's and Lidia's.

Some basic key ingredients
2 lbs. fresh Ricotta Cheese
2/4 c. sugar
6 eggs (seperated)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
zest of one orange
zest of one lemon

2 Tbs butter softened
1/2 c. Amaretti cookies (crumbled)

I first had the ricotta strain over a bowl for @ 1/2 hour.  However, I guess because the cheese was so fresh there really wasn't much liquid that was extracted.

I pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees.  Then I prepared the spring form pan, coating it with the butter and then sprinkling it with the cookie crumbles.  I crumbled the cookies in a mixing bowl using the backside of a ladle.
For the filling I mixed, with an electric mixer, the egg yolks, 1/4 c. sugar, salt, and vanilla.  I then added the ricotta and zests and continued to mix until the batter became smooth.  I wanted to try Martha's way of peaking the egg whites with some of the sugar.  But, as you can see from the picture below, they never really formed peaks.  I just folded it into the egg yolk mixture anyway.
BTW, the aromas of the freshly grated lemon and orange zest were so refreshing.
I poured the batter into the form and baked for 1 hour.  Again, the smell was awesome.

Adding the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture.

Here is the finished cake; it sunk a lot more than I expected, but can't wait to try it.  I am going to serve it with the Amaretto Orange Glaze.  Which I made by mixing the liquor with the marmalade over med heat in a sauce pan stirring frequently.  Cook and stir until the mixer reduces, 5 min.  
Sicilian Ricotta Cheesecake

Optional Topping:
2 Tbs Amaretto
1 - 1 1/4 c. orange marmalade

I decided that an orange glaze would make a great accompaniment with the cake.  And figured to mix it with Amaretto because I remembered how Italian desserts often use rum and other liquors.

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