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Author Notes: I recommend making your own ricotta cheese for this recipe. Homemade ricotta is so simple to make and it is so much thicker and more delicious than store bought ricotta. If you do use store bought ricotta cheese, be sure to drain it for at least an hour (preferably overnight). I love this recipe because it is very similar to New York style cheesecake and you don't have to bother baking it in a water bath. The cake itself develops this incredible souffle-like look to it - almost a molten golden brown. When you cut it in slender slices, the beautiful ombre effect of the browning makes this dessert all that much more enticing. —Samantha Ardry
Makes 1 - 9" cake
For the crust
- 5 ounces graham crumbs, breadcrumbs or cookie crumbs
- 1 ounce powdered sugar
- 5/8 ounce all purpose, pastry or cake flour
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat a conventional oven to 350 F.
- Combine the crumbs, powdered sugar and flour in a bowl. Pour the melted butter over the mix and stir to combine.
- Butter or spray a 9" spring form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter or spray the paper as well.
- Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan until it is evenly distributed. The recipe makes enough crust for just the base of the pan. I never bother trying to get a crust on the sides - it's annoying :)
- Par-bake the crust for about 15 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let it cool while you make the filling.
For the filling
- 2 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese, room temperature, drained until very thick (preferably overnight)
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 5 ounces sour cream, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ounces cornstarch
- 12 ounces superfine sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Process the ricotta cheese in a blender or robo coupe until very smooth. Whisk the ricotta together with the other ingredients by hand until well combined. Alternatively, you can beat everything together in stand mixer or whiz it all in a blender. Pour the filling into the pan directly on top of the cooled crust. Tap the pan a few times to release air bubbles.
- Place the cheesecake onto the center rack of the oven and bake for about an 1 hour. The cheesecake will puff up dramatically and get very beautifully browned, especially around the edges. If the center doesn't puff as much, don't fret! Everything will settle down to a flat layer after it cools. The cake is done when the top is nicely browned and it doesn't jiggle loosely. A firm jiggle is what you want.
- Let the cake cool on a rack completely in the pan. I find the best way to remove it from the pan and slice it is to chill it overnight in the refrigerator first. Run a sharp knife dipped in hot water around the edges of the pan and remove the collar. Finally, freeze the cheesecake for about 30 minutes, slice it with a sharp knife dipped in hot water and either serve it cold or at room temperature.