Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake

My dear friend, Shari invited us to her house for dinner and I offered to make dessert.

All week, I wanted to bring a special dessert and wanted to bring one that was so “Shari”…

Luscious and sweet with a hint of rum!

I found all that in this recipe. I’m not a big fan of the traditional cheesecake made with cream cheese. To me, it’s cream cheese with sugar in it. This recipe infuses the flavors of lemon zest and rum with the light creaminess of ricotta cheese.

And it’s beautiful – like my friend Shari.

So let’s begin…

Start with a crumb crust in a spring form pan – you can use vanilla wafers or graham cracker crumbs. This time I used crushed Italian Amaretto cookies which added a nice almond crunch to the cake.

The recipe calls for 2 lbs. of ricotta cheese. I suggest going to your local Italian grocery if it’s convenient and get the good stuff. If not, make sure the ricotta cheese is whole fat and not reduced fat. Don’t skimp on this one!

Drain the ricotta cheese overnight in a sieve lined with paper towels or cheesecloth to remove any excess water. Place in the refrigerator and make sure to cover with saran wrap.

Cream the ricotta cheese until smooth in a food processor.

Add egg yolks, lemon zest, sugar, flour, vanilla, salt – and RUM! – to the creamed ricotta cheese.

Place ricotta cheese mixture in a large bowl.

Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and gently fold into the cream cheese mixture.

Spoon the lusciousness over the crumb crust. (Make sure the sides of the spring form pan are brushed with melted butter!)

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 1 1/4 hours. Bake until firm and the middle is soft. When the time is up, shut off the heat and open the oven door leaving the cheesecake in the oven to cool gently. Once the temperature is even, bring out of the oven and cook on a wire rack for 2 hours. After 2 hours, wrap in saran and refrigerate for at least 5 hours.

Remove the sides of the spring form pan and embellish!

This one’s for you, Shari! Thanks for the fabulous meal!

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 6-8
A light lemony cheesecake with a hint of rum!
  • CRUST:
  • 1¼ cup cookie crumbs processed in a food processor to uniformly fine crumbs (you can use graham crackers, vanilla wafers, chocolate wafers – I used Amaretto cookies)
  • 5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter (4 tbs. for the crust, 1 tbs. for buttering pan)
  • 2 pounds ricotta cheese , drained overnight
  • 4 large eggs , separated
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup rum
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  1. CRUST:
  2. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. In small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and 4 tablespoons of melted butter.
  4. Mix with fork until evenly moistened.
  5. Brush bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan with remaining melted butter, reserving small amount of excess melted butter for brushing sides of pan after crust cools.
  6. Pour crumbs into springform pan and press evenly with your fingers into pan bottom.
  7. Bake until it begins brown around edges, about 13 minutes.
  8. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 30 minutes. (Do not turn off oven.)
  9. Brush sides of springform pan with remaining melted butter.
  11. Place drained ricotta in food processor and process until very smooth.
  12. Add egg yolks, sugar, rum, flour, zest, vanilla, and salt and process until blended.
  13. Pour mixture into large bowl.
  14. Beat egg whites at high speed until they hold stiff peaks.
  15. Fold whites into ricotta mixture until fully blended.
  16. Spread mixture evenly into cooled crust.
  17. Bake cheesecake in a 325 degree oven for about an 1¼ hours (until top is lightly browned and the outside of the cake is firm and center is soft.)
  18. Leave cheesecake in oven. Turn off the heat and open the door to gently cool the cheesecake to a uniform temperature.
  19. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 2 hours.
  20. Run knife between cake and side of spring form pan.
  21. Wrap pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cheesecake is cold and set for at least 5 hours.

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