Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake

As you may have understood by now, I'm all about Easter chocolate.

However, like I tend to be sad when I see a stuffed animal on the ground, I also get kind of sad when I abandon all other types of dessert in favor of chocolate.

Seriously, how sad is this?

The only issue I have regarding desserts during the Easter season is that I already have a perpetual I-ate-too-much-chocolate stomach ache. Is there a dessert that could actually make you forget all that?

Are you thinking of a layered carrot cake with clouds of cream cheese frosting?

I'm not.

To counter all that sweetness in the chocolate, I actually think Easter might just be the time to break out that tangy, only slightly sweet dessert. Something fresh, bright, almost palate-cleansing (to get ready for the next round of chocolate, although I won't put it that way).

In comes lemon ricotta cheesecake.

Although real cream cheese has finally landed this side of the Ocean and the prospect of a "true" cheesecake is finally something we can bounce off the walls over, cheesecake sometimes proves to be a little heavy after all that Easter chocolate feasting.

Now ricotta cheesecake, on the other hand, is an altogether different story... For those of you used to putting ricotta in dishes involving tomatoes or eggplants only, read on!

Ricotta cheesecake is an interesting thing; it looks pretty dense when you glance at it. But when you have a bite, it's definitely not. Very creamy, sure, but also light and tangy. Adding a hint of cinnamon gives it a little depth, and the lemon makes it nearly refreshing.

The lovers of super-sweet desserts might not love this one as much, but if you're afraid of something like that, here's a solution. Add a layer of salted butter caramel. Yeah, you can thank me later.

Ricotta Cheesecake
serves 6 to 8

3 TB crushed cookies, like French petit beurre
2 lb. ricotta, room temperature
6 eggs, room temperature
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 TB grated lemon zest
juice of one medium lemon
1/2 TS salt
1 TS vanilla extract
1/2 TS cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C, placing rack in the lower third of the oven.

Butter a springform pan and dust with cookie crumbs on the bottom and sides of the pan.

Mix all remaining ingredients together until batter is smooth. Pour into pan and bake 1 hour and 45 minutes, until cheesecake is golden but center is still wobbly.

Cool in pan and keep at room temperature until serving. 
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Barbara said...

It's the lemon that's pulling me in, Lucie! Much prefer it to chocolate. This looks marvelous and I love the idea of a dessert that's not intensely sweet.

Paris Pastry said...

I've always wanted to make a ricotta cheesecake. Maybe an idea to put in the weekly poll. How did the taste differ from a cream cheese cheesecake?

Oh, and hope you had a swell Easter! Sounds like a great one (chocolate, chocolate and some more chocolate ;).

grace said...

someone lost her little stuffed animal--that IS sad!
i can see how this cake would provide a mouthful of complexity, from the texture to the flavor. nice recipe, lucie!

Lucie said...

Danielle: the taste was a lot lighter and tangier. The lemon really stood out, and the whole thing ended up tasting really refreshing!

Kerstin said...

What a lovely spring dessert! I like your idea to add the caramel too :)

Reeni said...

My Mom used to make ricotta cheesecakes all the time and for reasons unknown she stopped. I need to pick up her habit - this is bright and luscious! Thanks for reminding me!