Sicilian ricotta cheesecake

The Tusmore household all love cheesecake and there is often passionate discussion about which sort is the best, some like unbaked creamy sweet versions and others prefer cheesy baked recipes. The downside to cheesecake is their fat content so when I saw a recipe in an old Good taste for a cheesecake using ricotta cheese I had to try it out.

Ricotta cheese is generally recognized as having been invented in Sicily, it is made from leftover hot whey of milk used for cheese making. When the whey is reheated (re-cooked) the solid milk parts are skimmed off to drain, and this is called ricotta cheese. The curd is literally cooked twice hence the name “ricotta,” re-cooked. Ricotta is the ideal cheese for people watching their weight — it’s fat content of around 10% is quite low compared to the 30% or more of other cream cheeses.

All this is good but the cheesecake is contained in a lovely fattening pastry case and has sour cream added so the end result is delicious but definitely not diet food!



75gms Hazelnuts (toasted and skins removed)

480gm low fat ricotta

100gms caster sugar

200 g sugar

125 gms sour cream

100 gms chocolate

95gms mixed peel

2 tbs brandy


150g plain flour

55gms almond meal

60g icing sugar mixture

125gms butter chopped

1 egg yolk


  1. To make the pastry, place the flour, almond meal, icing sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and process until the dough just starts to come together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Shape into a disc and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
  2. Preheat oven to 200°C. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 3mm-thick disc. Line a round 20cm (base measurement) fluted tart tin, with removable base, with pastry and trim any excess. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to rest.
  3. Meanwhile, spread the hazelnuts over a baking tray and bake in oven for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Place the hazelnuts on a clean tea towel and rub to remove the skins. Coarsely chop.
  4. Combine the hazelnuts, ricotta, sugar, sour cream, egg, chocolate, mixed peel and brandy in a large bowl.
  5. Cover the pastry base with baking paper and fill with pastry weights, rice or dried beans. Place on a baking tray and bake in oven for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and weights, rice or dried beans and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 180°C.
  6. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the pastry base and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until filling is just set. Turn oven off. Leave the cheesecake in the oven, with the door ajar, for 1 hour or until cool (this will prevent the cake from cracking). Remove from oven and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 2 hours to chill. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

from Good Taste – June 2006, Page 80
Recipe by Sarah Hobbs

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