I Love Chocolate

by Stephanie Zonis


Anthony's Ricotta Cheesecake

12 to 16 servings


This cheesecake is in honor of Anthony, who suggested it during a discussion on food preferences. It is rather lighter in texture than a cheesecake that uses all cream cheese, with a very slight graininess from the ricotta. The orange marmalade adds a lovely citrusy flavor, with a touch of bitterness that works very well. This cheesecake is great for any Easter or spring celebration, especially as it must be made ahead (it should chill at least overnight before it's served) and will keep for at least a week in the fridge if tightly wrapped. For longer storage, you can freeze it.

You'll need a 9-inch springform pan; the pan MUST be 3 inches tall. Mine is a great nonstick model with a dark finish, made by Kaiser. You'll also need a food processor, preferably one with a large capacity. I have used part-skim ricotta here. I believe whole milk ricotta would work, too, but I have not tried this recipe with a fat-free or low fat ricotta. For the orange marmalade, I have used Bonne Maman brand, as it is widely available. Another brand may be substituted, but bear in mind that some are considerably sweeter.


1-3/4 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

32 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup well-stirred orange marmalade
   (about 9 ounces, stir before measuring)
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 eggs, graded "large", plus 3 egg yolks
Grated rind of 2 large lemons
   (zest only—no white pith)
1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed, strained lemon juice
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips


Adjust one rack to center of oven and a second rack to lowest oven position. Tear off a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil about 18 inches square. Fold over about an inch on one end, then fold that inch over a couple of times upon itself. Fold this creased end upright so you have a standing border about 1 inch high. Repeat with other ends. You'll be left with a foil "tray" between 13 and 15 inches square, with standing edges. Set aside until needed (you must bake this cheesecake with foil under it, as it will drip during baking).

Assemble a 9-inch round springform pan (preferably with a nonstick finish) that is 3 inches tall. The following step is optional, but very helpful if you want to make sure you don't scratch your pan bottom while cutting the cheesecake or will be moving or transporting the cheesecake. Cut a circle of corrugated cardboard to fit the bottom of the pan. Tear off two pieces of regular weight aluminum foil, each about 12 to 14 inches long; place in an "X" pattern on a flat surface. Place the trimmed cardboard circle in the middle of the "X". Fold the foil over and around the cardboard circle (any excess should be folded over onto the top, then flattened out as much as possible—I use a rolling pin to flatten it). If there is a great deal of excess foil, some may be trimmed off. When done, you'll have a foil-covered cardboard circle with one smooth side. Place the circle, smooth side up, into the assembled springform pan.

For Crust:
Butter the sides (only the sides) of the pan (do this even if the pan is nonstick). In medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Stir to blend well. Add melted butter and mix in thoroughly.

Using the back of a clean spoon or your fingertips, press about two-thirds of the crust mixture onto the buttered sides of the pan. Make sure the crust goes up to the top of the pan. Compact the remaining crust mixture evenly onto the pan bottom. Try not to have the crust too thick where the pan bottom and sides meet. Chill crust till needed.

For Filling:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Open the ricotta; if there is any excess liquid on top of the cheese, pour it off. In workbowl of large capacity food processor fitted with steel blade, combine ricotta, softened cream cheese, marmalade, sugar, flour, and the 2 eggs (reserve the yolks). Cover; process at high speed for 20 seconds. Scrape down workbowl. Process 20 seconds longer. scrape down workbowl once more, and process 20 seconds for a third time. (Note: My food processor does not have a large enough workbowl to allow me to process all of the necessary ingredients at once, so I do so in two batches, using half of the ingredients for each. Also, if the mixture is proving too stiff for your processor, add egg yolks, one at a time, until the processing goes more easily. This will be a thick mixture, but it shouldn't shut down your processor's motor!) If the egg yolks have not been added already, add them now, one at a time, processing about 10 seconds after each addition. Scrape the filling into a large bowl. Note that you will still see pieces of the citrus rind from the marmalade in the filling.

Stir in lemon zest, then lemon juice. (When juice is added, slight curdling might appear to take place, but just stir the juice in and it should vanish.) Finally, stir in the chips.

Pour the filling over a spatula or large spoon into the chilled crust. The pan will be very full. Carefully place cheesecake on center rack of preheated oven. Place foil "tray" on lower rack and close oven door.

Bake in preheated oven for about 70 to 75 minutes, turning pan back to front once about halfway during baking. When turning the pan, if any air bubbles have caused the top to swell up in an area, prick them with a toothpick. When done, outer edges of cheesecake will be slightly risen and may appear to have a few small cracks in them, but center will still be quivery if pan is shaken or tapped very gently. Remove to cooling rack.

Allow cheesecake to cool at room temperature, out of drafts, for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Carefully loosen sides of cake from pan; remove springform sides (leave bottom of pan on for now, even if you've used the foil-covered cardboard circle on the bottom). Chill cheesecake for at least 3 hours. If you used the foil-covered cardboard circle, now is the time to run a thin-bladed plastic spatula between the bottom of the circle and the pan bottom. Remove pan bottom and return cheesecake to refrigerator. Cover cheesecake tightly when cold. Allow to chill at least overnight before serving.

To cut, use a sharp knife. For clean cuts, run the knife blade under hot water and shake it off (do not dry) before every cut. Store in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to one week; freeze for longer storage (defrost, still in wrapping, in the refrigerator).

This cheesecake tends to "weep" a small amount of liquid if it stands for a length of time after being cut; this tendency is somewhat more pronounced after the cheesecake has been frozen. If that bothers you, just wipe up the liquid with a paper towel; it doesn't affect the quality of the cheesecake.


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This page created April 2000