Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy
Almonds are synonymous with the region of Puglia just like hazelnuts are common to Campania This almond paste and ricotta cheesecake is simply sublime. The crust is made with store bought amaretti cookies so it is a snap to put together. You can also use leftover cookie crumbs.
Makes 1 cheesecake (9-inch)
14 amaretti cookies
1/3 cup whole almonds
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup melted and cooled butter
1 cup almond paste, cut into bits
Two 8 ounce packages cream cheese or 16 ounces mascarpone cheese or 8 ounces each mascarpone and ricotta cheese, at room temperature
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup light cream
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325F.
Whirl the cookies in a food processor. Add almonds and sugar and whirl until the almonds are in small pieces. Pulse in the butter until the mixture comes together. Press the paste into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch spring form pan. Place the pan on a large sheet of aluminum foil and crunch the foil around the outside of the pan. Set aside.
Beat the almond paste with cream cheese and or ricotta cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in the sugar and light cream until well blended. On low speed beat in the flour and salt.
Pour into the prepared shell and place in a larger baking pan. Fill the sides with hot water to come half way up the sides of the pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the filling is set. Remove cheesecake from the water bath. Cool. Cover loosely with foil and refrigerate overnight.
Remove sides, place cake on cake stand and cut into wedges to serve.