Recipe finder | Ricotta cheesecake

September 16, 2014|Julie Rothman | For The Baltimore Sun

Betty Jackson of La Porte, Ind., was trying to locate a recipe for a cheesecake that she used to purchase at a Chicago bakery but that they no longer carry. When she inquired, she was told the cake was made with cheese, but not cream cheese, and the bakery would not give her any specifics. She said the cake was somewhat taller then a normal cheesecake, perhaps by about 3 inches, and had a lighter texture.

Carol Cipriani of South Bend, Ind., sent in her recipe for an Italian-style cheesecake made with ricotta cheese that she thought might be what Jackson was looking for. It has a graham cracker crust like many American-style cheesecakes, but Cipriani's recipe calls for fresh ricotta instead of cream cheese. She even provided a simple recipe for making fresh ricotta that she says is "as easy as cooking dried pasta and far superior in taste to store-bought ricotta cheese any day." I must confess, I did not make my own ricotta for this recipe, although I'm sure it would have been delicious. But even made with store-bought ricotta, this cheesecake was rich and tangy, and when topped with fresh assorted berries, made a showstopper of a dessert. Like most cheesecakes, it is best to make this at least a day before you intend to serve it.

Requests

Janet Plum of Kingsville is looking for a recipe for a chocolate cake called a "Doebreirier" that was made at a German bakery in Baltimore in the 1940s or 1950s. She said she has used her friend's mother's recipe, but it is not turning out the same as Plum remembers, and she thinks there is an ingredient missing.

Joyce Lindsey of Baltimore is looking for a good recipe for making sweet potato pie.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278 or email baltsunrecipefinder@gmail.com. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.

Ricotta cheesecake

Makes 8-10 servings

Crust

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling

4 cups fresh ricotta cheese (see recipe below)

1 cup sugar, divided

5 eggs, separated

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Homemade ricotta cheese

Makes 1 cup

6 cups whole milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar or lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in a medium bowl. Press graham cracker mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and up the sides to form a pie crust. Bake for 5 minutes.

In a stand mixer, add ricotta a third at a time and blend until smooth.

Gradually mix in 3/4 cup sugar, reserving the remainder. One by one, add egg yolks to mixture until fully combined. Gradually add flour, then vanilla and increase speed slightly to combine well. Set mixture aside.

Beat egg whites with remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form, then gently fold together whipped cream, egg whites and batter until combined.

Pour batter into crust and bake for one hour, then turn off heat and allow cheesecake to cool in oven for two hours. Refrigerate overnight and serve.

For the ricotta cheese, line a colander or strainer with three layers of cheesecloth (can be bought at any supermarket).

In a large, nonreactive pot, bring milk and salt to a simmer. Do not allow it to boil. Add vinegar or lemon juice and stir gently until curds begin to form, about two minutes. Skim the liquid with a slotted spoon and gently transfer the curds to the cheesecloth-lined strainer and let drain for five minutes. Transfer cheese to a bowl and serve, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to three days.

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