Alpha Delights Ricotta Cheesecake

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Cheesecake made with ricotta and honey is neither as sugary-sweet, nor as unrelentingly smooth as most types, making it more “adult-friendly” than many specialty desserts. This Greek version comes from Mary Pappas, owner of Alpha Delights European Bakery in De Pere, Wisconsin.  It’s a great make-ahead gift, since it reaches peak flavor about two days after baking.



1. For the crust: Place flour, sugar, and salt in food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles cornmeal. Sprinkle heavy cream over the mixture; process until mixture looks damp and holds together when pressed. Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan; pat dough evenly over the bottom and 2 inches up sides of pan. (Alternatively, you may roll out dough and gently transfer it to the pan). The edges will stand above the filling, so keep them thick enough to prevent breakage. They may be a bit rough-looking, but you may crimp them, if desired. Chill crust 30 minutes or longer.

2. To bake crust: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly prick crust all over with fork, line it with aluminum foil, and fill with dried beans or metal pie weights. Bake 20 minutes, remove foil and beans, and bake an additional 7-10 minutes. Cool.

3. For filling: Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees. Beat ricotta in a bowl with electric mixer on low speed until well-blended, 1-2 minutes. Add superfine sugar and flour; beat on low another minute. Slowly beat in honey and half the cinnamon. Slowly beat in eggs one at a time. When everything is well blended, pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until golden and barely set, 55-65 minutes (knife inserted an inch or so from the center will come out clean, but center should still be jiggly).

4. Remove cheesecake from oven, run a sharp knife around the edges, and sprinkle remaining cinnamon over top. Let cheesecake cool slowly and thoroughly, then chill it well before serving. To serve, garnish with whipped cream and candied fruit.

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