From Once Upon a Chef
Servings: one 9-inch cake, about 12 servings
Prep Time: 50 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes, plus at least 6 hours to cool and chill
FOR THE CRUST
- 3/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE FILLING
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature (preferably Philadelphia brand)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 32-ounce tub (about 4 cups) whole milk ricotta (do not use low fat)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon amaretto (rum or Grand Marnier may be substituted)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons orange zest, from one orange
FOR THE TOPPING
- Fresh raspberries (you’ll need a pint but you’ll have extra)
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray; dust it evenly with flour and tap out any excess.
- To make the crust: place the almonds, flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until the nuts are finely chopped and the mixture looks sandy. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, cooled melted butter and vanilla. Add the liquid mixture to the nut mixture and pulse several times until the ingredients are well combined, moistened and crumbly. Dump the mixture into the prepared pan and, using your fingers or the bottom of a measuring cup, press into an even layer. Place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes (or the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes) to chill; then bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden. Let cool on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine the cream cheese, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until soft and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the ricotta and process until the mixture is smooth and light, another 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing for 5-10 seconds between each addition. Add the vanilla, amaretto, cornstarch and orange zest and process until mixture is just combined (do not overmix).
- Pour the filling into the crust, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake the cheesecake for about 50 minutes, until the top is lightly golden, the edges are set and the center is quite jiggly but not totally liquid (it will continue to cook as it cools). Carefully remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. It will sink a bit — that’s okay. Once cool, If necessary, run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the cake to make sure it’s not sticking to the sides (which can cause cracks as it cools), then cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to cool for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- For serving: Remove the sides of the springform pan. Serve the cheesecake right from the base of the pan; or, to transfer it to a serving platter, run a long, thin spatula between the crust and the pan bottom, and then use two large spatulas to carefully transfer the cheesecake to a serving dish. Slice with a sharp knife, wiping the knife clean between slices. The cake keeps well for several days
Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cheesecake may also be frozen without the topping for up to 3 months. To freeze: place the cake in the freezer briefly, unwrapped, to firm it up. Then double-wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw in the refrigerator the night before you plan to eat it. Prepare the topping prior to serving the cheesecake.