Photograph by Grant Cornett Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Ricotta Cheesecake

Desserts from Issue 6 – Fall / Winter 2015 – Magic

There is a frequent and familiar brand of magic that happens in nature and the kitchen—that it’s practical doesn’t make it any less remarkable. Just take the metamorphosis of milk into curds of ricotta; the idea is time-honored and the process is simple, but the resulting billowy mounds of cheese still always manage to astonish. And when that ricotta makes its way into a cheesecake with glazed figs and blood oranges in the wings, the effect feels worthy of a “tada.”

serves 8

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups ricotta, preferably homemade*
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • finely grated zest of ½ an 
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • glazed figs and blood oranges*

Homemade Ricotta
  • 8 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy creams
  • 5 Tbsp lemon juice
  • cheesecloth

glazed figs and blood oranges
  • 1 ⅓ cups dried Turkish figs, halved
  • cup dry red wine
  • ½ cup blood orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 blood oranges

  • 1

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8″ springform pan and place on a baking sheet.

  • 2

    Whisk together eggs and sugar until sugar dissolves. Whisk in ricotta, zests, ½ tsp salt, and vanilla extract until combined. Then whisk in flour just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and bake until puffed and chestnut brown, 60-70 minutes.

  • 3

    Cool 10 minutes. Run an offset spatula around the edge of the pan, then release sides and remove. Cool completely. Serve room temperature or chilled overnight.


    Homemade Ricotta: Heat milk, cream, and ¾ tsp salt in a large pot over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, heat to a full boil. Turn off the heat and then stir in lemon juice and let stand undisturbed for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, set a colander triple-lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl. Gently pour or ladle mixture into colander. Drain undisturbed until ricotta has body and texture but remains soft and creamy, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Chill until ready for use. Makes: about 3 cups


    Glazed Figs and Blood Oranges: Place figs, wine, juice, sugar, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until syrupy, 20-25 minutes. Stir in segments cut from oranges and cook until heated through. Cool completely. Remove cinnamon stick before serving. Makes: about 1½ cups