Ricotta Cheesecake from Rome’s Jewish Quarter

Whole Milk Ricotta Cheesecake

This tender ricotta cheesecake, sometimes referred to as a pudding (budino di ricotta), started out as a pancake. Food historian Clifford Wright notes that Sicilian Jews took their traditions of making and cooking with ricotta to Rome when they were expelled from Sicily in the fifteenth century and a version of this recipe came with them. You can still find this delicious dessert in Rome’s Jewish quarter in its simplest form—eggs, sugar, homemade ricotta and cinnamon. In our recipe, we separate the eggs and fold in the beaten whites, which makes the cake even more delicate.–Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer

LC Pretty and Puddinglike Note

This pretty, puddinglike cheesecake took us a little by surprise, being, well, prettier and more puddinglike than most. Not that we’re complaining. Besides, we find that a pretty darn good way to navigate life is to trust that when you encounter something that looks like cheesecake and tastes like cheesecake, chances are it’s cheesecake. And those cracks? Pshaw. This lovely creature is so light and airy, cracks are inevitable. Look at it this way: They add to the homemade quality of it all–if, that is, you made your own ricotta to grace the cake. Which you did, right? Right?

Ricotta Cheesecake

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 20 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 8
4.7/5 - 3 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Canal House Cooking Vol., No. 7: La Dolce Vita cookbook

Want it? Click it.


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Preheat the oven to 350ºF (176ºC). Use the 1 tablespoon of butter to coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan, and then dust the pan with the bread crumbs.

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy, about 5 minutes. Process the ricotta, Grand Marnier, and zest in a food processor until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold the ricotta into the egg mixture until the batter is well mixed.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk or an electric mixer fitted with a whisk until frothy. Add a little squeeze of lemon juice and continue to beat until the whites are stiff but not dry. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites in two batches. (Take care not to overmix, which would cause the batter to deflate.)

Pour the ricotta batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cheesecake until golden and firm to the touch, 40 to 50 minutes. (You may need to cover it loosely with foil to avoid over browning.) Remove the cake from the oven and transfer the pan to a rack to cool. (It will sink as it cools.) The cake is best served warm or at room temperature. (It loses a little flavor when it’s refrigerated.)

Print RecipeBuy the Canal House Cooking Vol., No. 7: La Dolce Vita cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers Reviews

What a delicious and unique version of a cheesecake. This recipe turned out so much better than I expected, and our dinner guests loved it, too. The description of this cheesecake was right on–it was definitely more of a ‘pudding cake’ than anything else. I loved the consistency of the ricotta cheese mixture, and the cinnamon and citrus flavors were a delicious combination. (I tasted the batter before baking the cake and was blown away by this flavor combo! It was even better baked!) It took about 50 minutes to cook in my oven on 350 degrees, not 40. The middle of the cake was still very watery after 40 minutes. I covered the top of the cake with foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking so it wouldn’t get too brown. I used store-bought ricotta cheese, but would like to try it again with homemade to see if that is as tasty! I love trying new versions of old classics and truly thought this was delicious!

This is a lovely light version of traditional cheesecake or even ricotta cheesecake. I served it after a fairly rich dinner of braised short ribs and no one felt overstuffed! The recipe works just as written, no surprises, and I was very glad it said the cake would sink as it cools, otherwise I probably would have panicked when it did. It is not the prettiest cake ever, but was well received by all who ate it. I served it with a dollop of peach preserves and crème fraîche on the side, and that was a nice touch.

I was so excited to make this, as we all love cheesecake. It was very easy to prepare. I don’t think it needs the cinnamon, but that is merely an opinion. I prefer to use vanilla essence, and I am going to try it again. It will be interesting to see how fresh it stays, but it was very delicious yesterday. I cooked it five minutes less than stated, but I am still playing with a new oven.

This was the most amazing, pudding-like cheesecake I have ever made. I used amaretto in place of the Grand Marnier. The cake was light, and the amaretto worked well with lemon zest. I served it with warm apricot preseves and vanilla ice cream. Decadent. The recipe works as written, although my cake was done ten minutes before the recomended time.

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