If you saw last week’s post you know I made some homemade ricotta cheese. It just so happened that immediately after making some there was a recipe in the Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition for a ricotta cheese cake. Ricotta cheese cake (torta ricotta) can usually be found in Italian restaurants along with the tiramisu and panna cotta and is a nice alternative to those popular dolci. Anyway, it was like the cooking gods took notice of my ricotta cheese making initiative and said “well done Peter, here’s a gift for you, make this ricotta cake with your fresh cheese.” So I did.
Ricotta cheese cake has a different texture than the cheesecake you normally think of. I don’t want to say it’s more granular, as that may make you think it’s gritty, but I’d say it’s “curdier,” not as velvety as your standard cheesecake and doesn’t have much in the way of butter or any graham cracker crust. However, I think ricotta cheese cake is a bit lighter than your standard fare cheesecake, probably because of the whipped egg whites which get folded into the batter. You can top it with some fresh summer fruit but I think it’s just fine on its own. Either way, it’s great summertime dessert.
As I’ve previously maintained, I’m no baker, especially when it comes to cakes but this recipe turned out fine so if someone horrible at cakes can make this you can too. It’s a pretty straightforward recipe, nothing exotic except maybe the mascarpone and you can probably substitute in some cream cheese if that’s all you have. I upped the orange zest called for in the original recipe and used the zest from two oranges instead of just 1 tablespoon. Hey, I like citrus. Most importantly though is to use your really fresh ricotta cheese! There’s something to be said for making the cheese for your cheesecake.
Ricotta Cheese Cake (adapted from Wall Street Journal)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 5 large eggs, separated with whites reserved
- 1 pound fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese (see last week’s post!)
- ¼ cup mascarpone
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Orange zest from 2 oranges
- 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl or food processor (this works well) combine and thoroughly mix (one ingredient at a time) sugar, egg yolks, ricotta, mascarpone, flour, baking powder, orange zest, Grand Marnier, and salt. Set mixing bowl aside.
Whip the egg whites to firm but not stiff peaks.
Gently fold egg whites into the batter.
Pour batter into a buttered 9 inch springform pan.
Bake for 45 minutes or until center of cake springs back when touched.
Cool on a wire rack before releasing from the form.