Cheesecake from Rome's Jewish Quarter

Cheesecake from Rome's Jewish Quarter
Staff Writer
Cheesecake
Christopher Hirsheimer

Cheesecake

This tender cake, sometimes referred to as a pudding (budino di ricotta) started out as a pancake. Food historian Clifford Wright notes that Sicilian Jews took their traditions of making and cooking with ricotta to Rome when they were expelled from Sicily in the 15th century, and a version of this recipe came with them. You can still find this delicious dessert in Rome's Jewish quarter in its simplest form — eggs, sugar, ricotta, and cinnamon. In our recipe, we separate the eggs and fold in the beaten whites, which make the cake even more delicate. If you can't find good quality fresh ricotta, make your own. 

8
Servings
93
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup fine fresh breadcrumbs
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 3 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups fresh whole-milk ricotta
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with the butter, then dust the pan with the breadcrumbs.

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until creamy, about 5 minutes. Process the ricotta, Grand Marnier, and zest in a food processor until smooth. Fold the ricotta into the egg mixture, using a rubber spatula, until the batter is well mixed.

In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk, or an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, until frothy. Add a little squeeze of lemon juice and continue to beat until the whites are stiff but not dry. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites, in 2 batches, taking care not to overmix, which will cause the whites to deflate.

Pour the ricotta batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden and firm to the touch, about 40 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and transfer to a rack. It will sink as it cools. This cake is best served warm or at room temperature. It loses a little flavor when it is refrigerated.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
4g
6%
Sugar
5g
6%
Saturated Fat
1g
4%
Cholesterol
8mg
3%
Carbohydrate, by difference
11g
8%
Protein
4g
9%
Vitamin A, RAE
136µg
19%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
9mg
12%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
208µg
100%
Calcium, Ca
100mg
10%
Choline, total
7mg
2%
Fiber, total dietary
1g
4%
Folate, total
35µg
9%
Iron, Fe
2mg
11%
Magnesium, Mg
37mg
12%
Manganese, Mn
1mg
56%
Niacin
1mg
7%
Phosphorus, P
66mg
9%
Selenium, Se
4µg
7%
Sodium, Na
54mg
4%
Water
51g
2%
Zinc, Zn
1mg
13%

Cheesecake Shopping Tip

There are so many varieties of chocolate on the shelves today it can be overwhelming to pick one – as a general rule of thumb, the fewer the ingredients, the better the chocolate.

Cheesecake Cooking Tip

Think beyond cakes and pies – fruits like peaches, pineapple, and figs are excellent grilled – brush with melted butter or wine and sprinkle with sugar and spices for a dessert that you can feel good about.