Ricotta Cheesecake

"This cheesecake needs some form of starch to absorb the liquid in ricotta. I found matzo meal works best."—Gina DePalma
8-10 SERVINGS

RECIPE BY Gina DePalma, Babbo, New York City

PHOTOGRAPH BY Romulo Yanes

MAY 2011

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 15-oz. containers whole-milk ricotta
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature, cut into cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. salt-free matzo meal
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)

PREPARATION

  • Put ricotta in a large fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Drain for 30 minutes.
  • Arrange rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350°. Grease an 8" springform pan with 2 1/2"-high sides with butter. Mix 1 Tbsp. sugar and breadcrumbs in a small bowl; sprinkle over buttered pan to coat. Tap out excess crumbs.
  • Transfer ricotta to a processor. Purée for 15 seconds. Scrape down sides of processor; purée until smooth. Add cream cheese; purée until smooth. Add the remaining sugar and all other ingredients; purée, scraping down sides occasionally, until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake cheesecake until golden brown and just set, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool in pan (cake will fall slightly). Refrigerate uncovered until cool, about 3 hours. Then cover and chill overnight.
  • To serve, wrap a warm towel around pan to release cake. Remove pan sides. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut into wedges.
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