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Ricotta cheesecake with rhubarb raspberry topping

I’ve got plenty more recipes and posts coming to you from my time in Sicily at the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School, but since rhubarb season here in the Northeast U.S. is so brief, I’m posting another rhubarb recipe first.

Besides, it was my husband’s birthday recently and one of his favorite desserts is a ricotta cheesecake. Pairing the cheesecake with a rhubarb raspberry topping seemed a natural.

In order to minimize our indulgence, I made it in a small pan – a 6″ cake pan with a removable bottom. This will easily serve four people, but if you want to make it in a larger, springform pan that’s traditionally used for cheesecakes, just double the recipe below.

I made an almond flavored crust, and followed through with the almond flavoring in the cheesecake too.

Having recently returned from Sicily, where we cooked with sheep’s milk ricotta still warm from our visit to a cheesemaker in Vallelunga, I went on the hunt to find some here.

 I did track some down at Valley Shepherd Farms Creamery in Long Valley, New Jersey, more than an hour’s distance from where I live. Fortunately, I didn’t have to make the drive, since they come to the farmer’s market in my town, as well as many other places in New Jersey and New York. It is a bit pricey, another reason to make a small cheesecake. But you could also use cow’s milk ricotta, as long as you drain it thoroughly to eliminate a lot of the moisture.

I first pressed it through a sieve to eliminate any clumps.

After baking the crust, and mixing the cheesecake, I wrapped the pan in aluminum foil and baked it in a bain marie (water bath). I find that baking a cheesecake with a bain marie makes for a more even bake and eliminates the hard, brown edges that sometimes rise higher than the center of the cheesecake.

However, whether due to the water bath or something else, you need to bake the crust until it’s really well cooked, or you could end up with a softer crust than you might like.

After baking let it cool completely before adding the topping. In fact, wait to add the topping until just before serving. I used a combination of rhubarb and raspberries cooked in orange juice and sugar, but you could add strawberries instead of the raspberries, or use only rhubarb. The sauce is also delicious mixed in with yogurt for breakfast (or over ice cream).

Slice and spoon more of the sauce on top if you like. (And of course, I like. Wouldn’t you?)

Ricotta cheesecake with rhubarb raspberry topping
  • Uses a 6" removable bottom cake pan. Serves four
  • Double quantities if using a larger springform pan
  • For the Crust:
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 2 T. flour
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 T. melted butter, cooled
  • ½ large egg yolk
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract
  • For the Cheesecake:
  • 3 eggs (actually a half of one of the egg yolks I used for the crust, above)
  • ¾ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract
  • 1 lb. ricotta (sheep's or cow's milk)
  • 1 T. orange zest
  • For the Topping (this is enough for the cheesecake plus extra for using on ice cream or yogurt):
  • 4 large stalks rhubarb
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • juice of one orange
  • ½ cup sugar
  1. Make the crust by placing the almonds, flour and sugar in a food processor and processing until it looks like grainy sand.
  2. Add the melted butter, ½ egg yolk, vanilla and almond extracts.
  3. Press into the bottom and sides of the cake pan, which has been buttered ahead of time.
  4. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until browned.
  5. Let it cool.
  6. For the cheesecake:
  7. Put the ricotta through a sieve and drain overnight if it's very moist.
  8. In a food processor, add the ricotta, eggs, sugar, vanilla, almond extract and orange zest.
  9. Blend for a few minutes until everything is well mixed.
  10. Pour the filling into the crust, then wrap the pan in aluminum foil.
  11. Place the pan into another pan and pour water around the cheesecake pan, making sure not to spill any into the cheesecake.
  12. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour and 15 minutes, longer if using a larger pan.
  13. It does not need to be "brown" on top. It should retain its pale color.
  14. For the topping:
  15. Slice the rhubarb into small pieces.
  16. Place the orange juice and sugar into a pan with the rhubarb pieces and raspberries.
  17. Cook at high heat until it reaches a boil, then lower and cook for about five minutes, or until the rhubarb pieces just start to break down.
  18. Let cool, then pour over the cheesecake just before serving.







This Post Has 11 Comments
  1. My cheesecake is similar but crust-less. The crust sounds delightful and I will definitely try it. Here in Pontelandolfo, making ricotta cheesecake I am an anomaly. Many of the local women make there cheesecake using “Philadelphia “. Many many years ago, someone came back from the USA and told folks it was the American way. It caught on and is a staple. I prefer ricotta!

  2. I sure your Hubby had a happy and delicious birthday. I really enjoy rhubarb and I don’t use it often enough. I haven’t made a cheesecake yet using ricotta but I will try your recipe. I’ll do it when our family gets together. Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. I’m looking forward to reading more about your stay in Italy.

  3. Rhubard season is so quick, in fact, it usually passes me by entirely. 😉 I may try to buy some while I can this year and lost my rhubarb virginity. A cheesecake would certainly be a nice way to do it.

  4. I’m so happy to have another delicious rhubarb recipe, Linda! I’m so happy I have my little rhubarb patch 🙂

  5. Happy belated birthday to your husband! I’m sure he was delighted by this delicious ricotta cheesecake. Sadly my family prefers the cream cheese version of cheesecake, but I like the lighter ricotta version. Your idea to add crushed almonds in the crust is brilliant–I’m going to do that next time!

  6. I love making a cheesecake that only serves four. It means I can make more cheesecakes instead of waiting for large gatherings! The almond crust is perfect. We do have a source for sheep’s milk ricotta not too far from here so will try that. I may just make the topping today to have with breakfast yoghurt. Our rhubarb season in three months long. The photos really drew me in.

  7. Sheep’s milk ricotta is always the best choice in my opinion. Pairing the almond crust and orange zest with the ricotta must take you back to Sicily. The topping sounds wonderful and so versatile.

  8. gee it would be nice to read a review from someone who has actually made it. I hope all your inspired cooking turned out awesome, please share, thank you. I am wondering if a rhubarb/ quince would be too overpowering on a baked ricotta? It’s often paired with strawberries and blueberries, which are indeed are great match to let the flavours of the cheesecake shine. ( that said, recipe does look v good, thanks for sharing)

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