Published December 12, 2006.
Well-made ricotta cheesecake is light and delicate, but poorly made versions suffer from a grainy, wet consistency. Could we smooth out this classic Italian recipe?
Ricotta cheesecake is an Italian cousin to American-style cheesecake—but it should be lighter and more delicate. We found too many versions that were heavy and wet, especially when made with supermarket ricotta.
We wanted a cheesecake that was light enough to make a fine contrast to the over-the-top confections that are often served at holiday parties, but that didn't require hard-to-find and expensive ingredients.
To keep the cake as delicate as possible, we chose to make a separated-egg cake. To avoid basing the cake on expensive, fresh-made ricotta, we found a way of improving the supermarket variety—just pureeing the cheese in a food processor for a few moments rendered it as smooth as fresh ricotta. And allowing it to drain overnight yielded even richer, creamier results. We found that four eggs delivered a cheesecake with just the right balance of creamy richness and lightness. But while our cake tasted great, it just seemed incomplete without a crust. To create a crust that would stay true to the cake's Italian roots, we substituted crushed amaretti cookies for the traditional graham crackers.list of recipes