This is a classic Italian ricotta cheesecake…a very smooth and creamy cheesecake.
- Butter, for greasing springform pan
- 3 pounds whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, separated
- Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon Strega liqueur (Cointreau or Triple Sec may be substituted)
- Position a rack in the center of the oven.
- Heat to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan and place on a baking sheet.
- In a strand mixer fit with the paddle, beat the cheese, sugar, egg yolks, lemon zest, vanilla extract and liqueur on medium speed until very smooth, about 4 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and wipe out the mixer bowl.
- Put the egg whites in the mixer bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Fold the whites by thirds into the cheese mixture. Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan and level it.
- Put the cake in the oven and immediately lower the heat to 350 degrees F.
- Bake until the cake has risen higher on the sides than in the middle and is set but jiggling in the center, 1 hour, 10 minutes.
- Turn off the oven and prop the door open; a wine cork is a good tool for propping the door open just enough. (Be careful not to let if fall into the oven.)
- Let the cake cool completely in the oven for 1 hour, then cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours or overnight before removing the springform sides.
- Slice and serve.