In our spring 2014 What’s in Season column, adventurous cook Laura Luciano visits Ty Llwyd farm for the spring milk to make a grassy and flavorful ricotta cheese, which leads her to reminisce about the ricotta cheesecake she loved made by her Italian grandfather. Here’s the recipe. The fresher the milk, the better it is.
My Grandfather’s Ricotta Cheesecake
3 pounds of whole milk ricotta
9 large eggs, separated
1 ½ cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup of flour
1 tablespoon of butter
Preheat oven to 325°F; set rack in middle of oven. Butter and flour a 9 x 3-inch spring form pan and tap out excess flour. Place on a baking sheet. Separate the eggs; yolks in one bowl and whites in another. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta and zest; whisk until smooth. Add the sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla; gently mix until combined. Put egg whites in a stand mixer and beat on high until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the ricotta mixture.
Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour; should be a light golden color. Make sure the edges of the cheesecake do not burn; if edges are getting to dark, cover with tinfoil. The center should be fairly firm and the point of a sharp knife should come out clean. Cool cheesecake completely on a wire rack; room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set, about 3 hours.