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Ricotta Cheese Cake in Amaretti Crust

Italian cheesecake is light and not as dense as American style cheesecakes. The combination of ricotta, mascarpone and sour cream give this cake a really smooth texture. It is important to use high quality ricotta cheese and to bake this cake in a bagnomaria (water bath). Enjoy it plain or with a fruit topping such as marmalade, strawberries in syrup or make a delicious lemon curd to spread on top. Either way it is delicious.

Serves 8- 10



30 small (1-inch) imported amaretti cookies

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled



2 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup Amaretto liqueur


Lemon Curd (optional)

Juice and zest of 4 medium lemons

1/4 cup unsalted butter cut into bits

1 1/4 cups sugar

4 large eggs, slightly beaten


For the Lemon Curd
Combine the juice, zest, butter and sugar in the top of a double boiler. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the butter is melted.
Add the eggs in steady stream to the lemon mixture and cook stirring constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens to the consistency of pudding.
Transfer the mixture to a glass bowl; place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until needed. Can be made two days ahead of time.
For the Crust
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Whirl the cookies to a powder in a food processor or use a rolling pin.  Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and stir in the butter to evenly coat them. Pat the crumb mixture in the bottom of a 9 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch springform pan. Wrap a large sheet of aluminum foil around the outside of the pan.

Refrigerate until needed. Can be made two days ahead of time.
For the Filling
In a stand mixer or by hand with a hand held mixer, beat the ricotta cheese with the mascarpone and sour cream. Beat in the sugar and eggs one at a time. Beat in the salt and flour.  Beat in the extract and the liqueur.
Pour the batter carefully into the prepared pan. Place the pan in a larger pan and carefully pour boiling water into the larger pan until it is about 1-inch up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake on the middle oven shelf for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the cake to sit in the oven 45 minutes longer.
Remove the cake from the larger pan. Carefully remove and discard the aluminum foil. Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes. Cover the top of the cake loosely with wax paper and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, allow the cake to come to room temperature. Unlatch the springform pan rim and carefully remove it. Place the cake on its base on a serving platter. Cut into wedges.

If topping the cake with lemon curd, spread the curd carefully over the top of the cake and refrigerate 1 hour before serving. Cut into wedges to serve.
If using jam or fruits in syrup, cut the wedges first then spoon the jam or fruit over each wedge.
Note: To get even cuts, dip your cake server in ice water and wipe dry as each slice is cut.

This recipe is featured on show 2206 – Exquisite Cakes – Le Torte Squisite.


  1. Esther's avatar


    There are differences between the printed recipe and the way the cake was made in the program:
    In the program the cake is baked in a pan of boiling water. Not mentioned in the recipe.
    In the program she says bake for an hour. In the recipe it says bake for 45 minutes.
    Sadly, I find this in her other recipes too.
    She makes her recipes freely on the spot, and changes them on the spot. I need baking recipes to be accurate!
    It is also true for her new Pizza recipes with the special yeast for pizza crust. So many variations happening on the spot.
  2. Dee's avatar


    First she said on the show to use a tart pan..this recipe said a spring form pan...Not sure which one to use...
  3. Rose's avatar


    I bake a lot of cheesecakes what type of pan is a matter of personal choice. Cooking times and temps have to be adjusted according to the oven. The ingredients are what’s most important and once you are an experienced baker even those can be modified according to personal preferences. It’s rare either of these two inconsistencies would ruin the finished product. I always use a water bath for cheesecakes but once again every Baker has their own personal favorite tips!
  4. Tom Melchiorre's avatar

    Tom Melchiorre

    I like to cook and bake. I'm almost 72 years old. I learned a long time ago to follow a recipe BUT once you have done that, the next time you make the same product you can make your own adjustments. Mary Ann does a good job the little difference won't ruin your product.
  5. Sarah's avatar


    The cooking time is defiantly under. 45mins it was still liquid. Even with the rest it was under baked. But what an amazing flavor!!!!

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