Ricotta Cheesecake

This recipe is inspired by one from Martha Stewart.  What I enjoy about it is the fact that is not your typical cheesecake.  It’s a breeze to make,  not cloyingly sweet nor does it require the making of a crust.  Best of all if you are going to make a batch of ricotta or have already made some recently, this is a great recipe to use what you have left in the fridge.  Serve with a few orange supremes or gild the lily and add a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

One 9 or 10-inch cake

Unsalted butter at room temperature, for pan
Granulated sugar for pan
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 pounds fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese, preferably home-made 
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Finely grated zest of 1 orange, preferably organic
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs, separated
5 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a 9 or 10-inch spring form pan with parchment paper. Generously butter bottom and sides, sprinkle with sugar, pour out excess, and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment beat the egg yolks, and ¾ cup of sugar until light and creamy. Add ricotta  and salt and beat until smooth. Add lemon zest and flour. Beat until just combined.

In a clean bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on low speed until foamy.

Raise speed to high, and gradually add 5 tablespoons sugar, whisking until stiff, glossy peaks form. This should take 3 to 4 minutes.

Using a large rubber spatula gently fold a third of the whites into the ricotta mixture until just combined. Gently fold in remaining whites until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until center is firm and top is deep golden brown, about 1 hour. Note that the cake rises above the pan while it cooks so don’t have the oven rack too close to the top of the pan.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake; release sides to remove from pan, and let cool completely and serve.

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