This rich, velvety dessert marries the best of New York and Italian-style cheesecakes. It’s the perfect end to a great meal and gives you a chance to increase check totals even after the main course.
61/2 oz. (12/3 cups) Graham cracker crumbs
2 oz. (1/4 cup) Granulated sugar
2 oz. (1/4 cup) Butter, melted
1 lb. Grande Ricotta Cheese
1 lb. Cream cheese, softened
7 oz. (1 cup) Granulated sugar
1 tbsp. Lemon peel, freshly grated
1 oz. (2 tbsp.) Lemon juice, fresh squeezed
5 Fresh large eggs
Yield: One 10-inch cheesecake
Combine Graham cracker crumbs, 2 oz. sugar and 2 oz. butter. Press evenly in bottom and 1 inch up side of 10-inch spring form pan. Bake in conventional oven at 350°F for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and place pan on 14-inch square of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
In mixer, beat Grande Ricotta Cheese on low 30 seconds. Add 4 oz. cream cheese; beat until blended and smooth. Scrape side of bowl. Beat in remaining cream cheese. Beat in 7 oz. sugar, the lemon peel and juice until combined; scrape side of bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time on low speed until smooth, scraping side of bowl halfway through mixing. Pour into prebaked crust; smooth filling with spatula. Fold up sides of foil around pan.
Place cheesecake in large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until water is about halfway up sides of spring form pan. Bake 1 hour 10 minutes or until outer edge is set and center 3 inches jiggle. Remove from water bath to wire rack. With knife, loosen cake from side of pan. Cool at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
For Vanilla Cheesecake, omit lemon peel and reduce lemon juice to 1 tbsp. Beat in 11/2 tsp. vanilla extract with the lemon juice. Serve with chocolate or caramel sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.
For Strawberry Cheesecake, spoon 1 oz. sweetened strawberries over each slice of cheesecake.