Happy Spring! It’s time to celebrate with a light and lovely Ricotta Cheesecake with Lemon & Raspberries! The Italians do a lot of things right when it comes to cooking and one of the best things they’ve come up with is Ricotta Cheesecake. Ricotta is lighter and lower in calories than cream cheese and though I love a good New York style cheesecake, in the spring when everything lightens up, I turn to ricotta for a light, delicious, versatile and easy cheesecake.
Oh and because this one has no crust, it’s naturally gluten free!
If you’ve never had Ricotta Cheesecake you’re in for a treat! The texture is not the same as a regular cheesecake because you use ricotta cheese so it’s lighter and dryer, more cake-like and less cloying than New York style cheesecake.
This is the perfect dessert for your Easter celebration and ideally, it’s best made the day before you plan to serve it and allowed to rest in the fridge overnight to blend all the flavors.
Ricotta Cheesecake can be flavored lots of ways. My two favorites are with amaretto (I’m a huge almond fan) or with grated lemon and orange zest and a splash of vanilla. See Kate’s Tips below for how to do the amaretto version.
I encourage you to use whole milk ricotta, not the low fat or fat free variety. It will make a big difference in the texture. And don’t even think of using cottage cheese. I can’t even. Yes, I’m an ingredient snob and you should be too!
There are a couple steps in this recipe that will guarantee you a smooth and creamy cheesecake although ricotta is decidedly not cream cheese so it will be a different texture than you’re likely used to. Think cheesecake meets custard 🙂
The first step is to drain your ricotta in a Wire Mesh Colander or a cheesecloth lined colander for an hour or so to remove excess liquid. By doing this, you will avoid a watery cheesecake.
The other step is to put all your ricotta into a food processor and process for about a minute to remove all the curds and make it perfectly smooth. This makes a huge difference in the final result.
- 2 pounds organic whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 large eggs, separated
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat oven to 325. Butter and sugar a 9 x 3 inch springform pan.
- In the bowl of a food processor, puree the ricotta for 1 minute, till smooth and creamy.
- Whisk together ricotta, egg yolks, half of the sugar, the lemon and orange zests, salt and vanilla.
- Beat egg whites on low till foamy. Turn the speed to high and gradually add the remaining sugar. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 3 ½ or 4 minutes.
- Fold half of the egg whites into the ricotta mixture until just combined. Fold in the rest off the egg whites.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake till golden brown and the top is firm, about 1 hour.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- When completely cool, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for several hours or, ideally, overnight.
- Serve, dusted with confectioners sugar or with fresh fruit and warmed fruit jam.
- To make the Amaretto version of Ricotta Cheesecake, instead of using orange and lemon zest and vanilla, use ⅓ cup amaretto. Add to the ricotta mixture when you add the egg yolks. Garnish the finished cake with toasted almonds. Maybe some shaved dark chocolate too. Oh my heavens!
- Any fruit is lovely with this. Fresh strawberries or blueberries, cherry preserves, even lemon curd would be delicious.
- I love to use my homemade raspberry jam or strawberry preserves with this cake. Just warm it up, push through a strainer to remove the seeds, and pour it over the ricotta cheesecake. Add some fresh berries and whipped cream. Yum! Or, try my favorite store bought jam: Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves
- Another delicious version replaces the amaretto with Grand Marnier. If you do it this way, leave the orange zest in. Top with some warmed orange marmalade and whipped cream.
- Or, just dust with powdered sugar and let the lemon, orange & vanilla flavors shine through.
- There’s no need to make a crust for Ricotta Cheesecake, in fact, I think it’s better without one. And that makes it gluten free!! But, hey, if you want a crust by all means, go ahead. It’s your cheesecake!
Happy Spring! Please let me know if you make Ricotta Cheesecake with Lemon & Raspberries!