Amaro Ricotta Cheesecake

By Samantha Weiss Hills
October 12, 2016
5 Comments


Author Notes: Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts—I love when it's not too sweet and still really tastes of cheese, which is usually the case when ricotta is involved. I've been dreaming of an amaro version since working for Frankie's in Brooklyn, where I always had one with the other after a long shift. So, I took some cues from their excellent recipe (in their eponymous cookbook) and from Sarah Jampel's lemon bar version. The result? Something slightly bitter, enough sweet, and very creamy—just right to impress friends and family around the holidays. For the crust, I used Anna's Ginger Thins because I love them dearly, but most gingersnap cookies will do.Samantha Weiss Hills

Makes: one 9-inch cheesecake

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 8 ounces gingersnap cookies, crushed (2 cups crumbs)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1/2 an orange
  • 1/2 cup amaro, or more to taste
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a medium bowl, stir together the ginger wafer crumbs and granulated sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are all moist and clump together slightly when you press them.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan—you can butter or grease it for good measure if you like—and press it evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan. Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darker, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack and lower the oven temperature to 300°F.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, ricotta, and a pinch of salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese is lump-free.
  4. Add the sugar and continue beating until fully blended and smooth.
  5. Add the orange zest and amaro and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just blended. Be careful not to overbeat the eggs—it can cause the cheesecake to puff too much and result in cracks across its surface. (Alternate method: At this step, you can separate the eggs and just add the yolks to the cheese mixture. Then, whip the egg whites into stiff peaks and fold into the cheese mixture. I've found similar results with both ways.)
  6. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top. Bake at 300° F until the center jiggles when nudged, 55 to 65 minutes. The cake should be a little puffy around the edges and moist in the center.
  7. Set on a rack and cool completely, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
  8. When ready to serve, unclasp the springform pan and remove the side. Run a knife under the bottom crust of the cheesecake. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate.
  9. Keep in the refrigerator, covered loosely, for up to 5 days.

More Great Recipes:
Cake|Cheese|Make Ahead|Christmas|Dessert

Reviews (5) Questions (2)

5 Comments

Caroline March 3, 2017
I burnt the crust ! The cake was delicious - I buttered the pan and baked for 10- any suggestions for next time ?
 
Author Comment
Samantha W. March 3, 2017
Oh shoot! Lining the pan with parchment next time might help.
 
Ellen J. December 29, 2016
lots of different Amaro varieties available with no similarity in taste, none of them available anywhere in red state country. So here's where I bought some http://www.astorwines.com/
 
Nancy December 27, 2016
I've had a bottle of Amaro Averna for a long time, how long does it last?<br />[email protected]
 
D December 16, 2016
maryam -<br />I came to this recipe by way of Samantha Weiss Hills 12/15/16 article "Something Bitter & Boozy Called: It Wants to Meet Your Cheesecake." In that article she says: "the really big bottle of Amaro Averna inevitably is taken down and ceremoniously poured into teeny glasses without a drop spilling. It is magic." and then speaks of dreaming about a cheesecake recipe. She goes on to say: "There are bottles upon bottles of amaro you could choose for this dessert, but it really depends on your tastes—and, of course, what's available. Where I live in the Midwest, it's not as easy to find specific bottles, but I uncovered the likes of Cynar—an earthy amaro made with artichokes—and Lazzaroni locally. In New York or other major cities, you'll have your pick.… " and finally "The amaro, whichever you choose, provides a much-welcome boost in flavor to simple ricotta cheesecake—a wow-and-what?! factor, …"<br /><br />I have tried several kinds of amaro but my favorite is Nonino Quintessentia (easily found in Los Angeles.)<br /><br />Here's a link to SWH's article:<br />https://food52.com/blog/18213-something-bitter-boozy-called-it-wants-to-meet-your-cheesecake<br />