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Piancone Ricotta Cheesecake

Piancone ricotta cheesecakeSure we all like traditional American cheesecake. There’s cheese, there’s cake, what’s not to love? One thing we have to admit, though, sometimes traditional cheesecake can be a little heavy. After an appetizer and entrée, there are times when that big honking slice of pie just feels like a tad too much. Enter ricotta cheesecake. Traditional cream cheese is cut with ricotta for a silky, smooth version that’s just a little lighter than your typical, dense variety. It’s a nice option for mixing up the dessert menu. Chef Jeff Baird from our corporate office breaks down the recipe for you.   

Ricotta Cheesecake Recipe

Yield: 6 81/2-inch cakes

Ingredients:
Pie:
9 pounds West Creek cream cheese softened
6 pounds Piancone Ricotta Cheese
16 large eggs
16 cups of sugar
¼ cup of vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup West Creek heavy cream
1 Tbsp. salt

Crust:
4 pounds graham crackers (you can sub any dry cookie or cracker you like)
Up to 2 pounds of butter, melted ( the amount you use depends on the type of cookie or cracker)
2 tsps. salt


Preparation:

Crust:
You can use a variety of ingredients for your base. Some of my favorites include Oreos, graham crackers, Nilla Wafers, ginger snaps, lemon wafers, Nutter Butters, etc. Place your dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse until crumbled and blended. Slowly add butter through the top, pulsing to incorporate. After half the butter has been added open up top and grab a handful of mixture and squeeze. You will want the mixture to clump and stay together but you do not want it to be too wet.  Once you’ve hit the right texture, spray the bottom and sides of spring-form or strait high-sided cake pans. Place approximately 10 oz. of mixture in the bottom of each pan and press gently with the end of your finger tips to achieve a base of ¼ inch thick (if using cake pans  you will want to come up the side of the pan about a ½ inch).

Cake:
Place cream cheese, sugar and Piancone Ricotta in large mixer (minimum 3 gallon) with paddle attachment. Paddle for 5 minutes on medium-low speed, stopping every minute and scraping down sides of mixing bowl.  Slowly add 16 eggs one at a time every 20 seconds or adding one after the previous one is incorporated.

Stop mixer and scrape down sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated, then add remaining ingredients (vanilla, flour, heavy cream, and salt) using low speed until all are incorporated. Stop and scrap down bowl once more then let mixer run for 10 minutes at medium speed.

Remove paddle from bowl then bowl from mixer and use rubber spatula to make sure all the sides and bottom are fully mixed together.  Pour your filling into pans up to ¾ of an inch from the top.  Place pie pans in a hotel  pan or a pan with high sides so you can create a water bath by adding enough water to cover ¼ of the pie pans. If you are using spring form pans you may want to place each pan in the middle of a sheet of aluminum foil and fold the ends to create a water barrier so your pans do not leek.

Place in a convection oven set at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on oven’s strength, rotating halfway through. You will want to give the cake a little jiggle to check the center. You are looking for very little to no movement at all as your cake will continue to cook up to 30 minutes after you take it out oven. Let rest on a cooling rack up to 2 hours and then refrigerate for a minimum of 8 to 10 hours before removing or slicing.