No matter how you begin planning your holiday dinner menu, be sure you have a grand finale. This is the time to pull out the family classics, those recipes for cakes and pies that your family waits all year to enjoy. But it is also a great time to try a brand new recipe, one you are sure will be added to the list of favorites. And for the sweet certainty of scrumptious, lasting impressions, serve this citrus-flavored ricotta cheesecake. This recipe, submitted by Michelle King of Duluth, Georgia, was published in the November, 1995, issue of Southern Living, and quickly became a reader favorite. Unlike most cheesecake recipes, this one does not use any cream cheese, instead calling for ricotta cheese, which is slightly grainy but smoother than cottage cheese. If possible, use whole milk ricotta cheese. The grated orange rind, or zest, golden raisins, and candied citron add a beautiful, golden touch to the cheesecake. It is important to let this cheesecake cool at least 8 hours so it will be firm and set before serving.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 butter or margarine, softened
2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons finely chopped candied citron
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
For garnish: orange sections, orange rind strips
How to Make It
Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press mixture into a 9-inch springform pan.
Bake at 475° for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Combine ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons flour; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs and next 3 ingredients; beat 4 minutes. Stir in raisins, citron and almonds, and spoon over crust.
Bake at 350° for 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes or until center is set.
Run a knife around edge of cheesecake to loosen; cool in pan on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Carefully remove sides of pan just before serving. Garnish, if desired.