What my family calls “ricotta pie” is, in reality, ricotta cheesecake to everyone else. This pie is an integral part of our Easter celebration — we make it the day before, keep it in the fridge, then eat it for breakfast with hard-cooked eggs, fruit salad, and other delights that change each year. I don’t know the origins of eating the pie for breakfast because I’m not sure that’s a tradition that many people share, but it’s my absolutely favorite part.
The filling of the ricotta cheesecake isn’t as dense as a traditional cheesecake — the ricotta lightens it up. And there’s a good dose of citrus peel and cinnamon to elevate the cheesey filling. When I was a kid, the crust was always from Pillsbury — the kind that was folded and came in a red box — but since then we’ve expanded to whole wheat and/or homemade. This year, I might even try a gluten-free graham cracker crust so that I can enjoy as many pieces as I want.
Classic Ricotta Cheesecake
Servings: 12 servings
Prep Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 7 hrs 20 mins
Ingredients on sale: 9
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/3 cup butter
1 beaten egg yolk
3 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons diced candied orange or lemon peel
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1.For crust, in a medium mixing bowl combine 3/4 cup flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon lemon peel. Cut in 1/3 cup butter until pieces are the size of small peas. Using a fork, stir in egg yolk until all of the dough is moistened.
2.Remove the sides from an ungreased 8-inch springform pan. Press one-third of the dough onto the bottom of pan. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 7 to 10 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack.
3.Grease the sides of the springform pan with the additional butter. Attach the pan sides to the bottom. Press remaining dough 1-1/2 inches up the sides of the pan. Set the pan aside.
4.For filling, in a large mixing bowl beat the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, milk, and 2 tablespoons flour with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until smooth. Add whole eggs all at once. Beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in raisins, candied peel, and 1 teaspoon lemon peel.
5.Pour filling into the crust-lined pan. Place in a shallow baking pan in oven. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 45 minutes or until center appears nearly set when gently shaken.
6.Cool in springform pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen crust from sides of pan and cool for 30 minutes more. Remove sides of the springform pan; cool 1 hour. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours. If desired, garnish with orange peel. Makes 12 servings.
Per serving: Calories 247, Total Fat 12 g, Saturated Fat 7 g, Cholesterol 104 mg, Sodium 148 mg, Carbohydrate 26 g, Fiber 0 g, Protein 10 g. Daily Values: Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 15%, Iron 6%. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet