Making our own fresh ricotta is surprisingly easy, and the result tastes extraordinary (here’s our DIY kit). Use a good-quality ricotta for this cheesecake, and make sure to process it well so there are no lumps. You’ll be rewarded with a deliciously light and creamy cake.
Ricotta Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce
For the crust:
3 Tbs. sugar, plus more for sprinkling
4 oz. (125 g.) graham crackers (about 8 crackers)
Pinch of kosher salt
4 Tbs. (2 oz./60 g.) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
4 cups (2 lb./1 kg.) ricotta cheese
1 cup (8 oz./250 g.) sugar
1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
4 large eggs
1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) creme fraiche
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
For the strawberry sauce:
1 pint (8 oz./250 g.) strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sugar
2 Tbs. fresh orange juice
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C).
To make the crust, generously butter a 9-inch (23-cm.) springform pan; sprinkle the sides of the pan with sugar, knocking out the excess. In a food processor, combine the graham crackers, 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, and butter and pulse to form fine crumbs. Press the graham cracker mixture evenly onto the bottom of the pan. Bake until the crust is lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (165°C).
To make the filling, in a clean food processor, process the ricotta until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar, flour, and salt and process again until smooth. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as you go. Add the eggs and process until smooth. Add the creme fraiche, vanilla and orange zest and process until completely combined. Gently pour the filling into the crust-lined pan, being careful not to disturb the crust.
Bake until the filling puffs up slightly and the center jiggles very slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, at least 2 hours. You can also refrigerate the cheesecake for up to 2 days before serving.
Meanwhile, make the strawberry sauce: In a saucepan, simmer the strawberries, sugar, and citrus juices over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries break down and the sauce becomes a bit syrupy, about 6 minutes. Puree the sauce with an immersion blender or in a blender. Let cool completely or refrigerate until ready to use.
To serve, remove the pan sides and slide the cheesecake onto a serving platter. Pour the sauce over the cake, and serve in thick wedges (you can also serve the strawberry sauce alongside the cake). Makes one 9-inch (23-cm.) cheesecake.
For more great rolls and other baking recipes be sure to check out our latest book, Williams-Sonoma Home Baked Comfort, by Kim Laidlaw.