I think cheesecake is my favourite kind of cake 🙂 I always go for a baked version (I loathe the fridge/gelatin kind with a passion) and I think my all time favourite is a New York Baked cheesecake with a sour cream topping. However this one comes a close second, and although its also baked, it is as light as air and feels much more virtuous than its American cousin. Plus it requires no base so its naturally gluten free. I added the Italian bit as you find Ricotta Cheesecakes typically in Italy where apparently it has been a staple since Roman times. Cato the Elder, in 160 BCE apparently included two cheesecake recipes in his records that were used for religious rituals. That aside this divine fluffy cloud like cheesecake is perfect for a tea, coffee, picnic or dinner party. I used only honey to sweeten it as I like my cheesecake only slightly sweet. You can always add some sugar if you want to make it sweeter – although I think its perfect as it is.
I add raisins as I am a fan – and it adds a little sweetness naturally… although you can also leave these out if you are not keen (my eldest ceremoniously fishes them out with a face on him much to my great chagrin).
The orange and lemon zests really give it that sunny Mediterranean flavour and make sure you use a high quality vanilla extract – not essence (I like Nomu). Lastly – make sure all your cheeses and eggs are at room temperature before you start and giving it time to rest is also important. Make it the day before you wish to serve it – or in the morning if you are going to serve it in the evening 🙂
Serves 12 modest sized slices, or 10 slightly larger portions
Preparation time: 20 mins
Baking time: 1 hour
- 500g Full Fat Ricotta
- 250g Best quality cream cheese (Like Philadelphia)
- 1/3 cup Thompsons seedless unsulphured raisins
- Juice half and orange
- Juice & zest of half a lemon
- Zest of 1 orange
- 4 Large eggs or 5 Medium
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 150g Natural Honey
- 2 tablespoons Corn Flour
- Preheat the oven to 160C conventional or 140C fan.
- Prepare your 9″ Spring-form pan – grease lightly with butter and wrap the pan in foil so that it comes all the way up to the top of the sides.
- Place the Ricotta and cream cheese in your food processor and blend well.
- Add all the other ingredients except the raisins and blend well until fully combined
- Pour the mixture into a bowl and mix in the raisins with a spoon.
- Pour the finished mixture into the greased spring-form pan.
- Place the foil covered pan into a roasting tray and pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the spring-form pan.
- Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour ( don’t worry as the the cake will become firm when it is cold ad you want it to be creamy not dry).
- 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.
- You really don’t need to serve this sublime Cheesecake with anything – it speaks nicely for itself, but you could leave out the raisins and serve it with a little compote – maybe cherry or even some candied orange peel.
It really is completely and utterly heavenly and SO virtuous you could even go back for seconds without feeling too guilty 😉