Sicilian Ricotta Cheesecake


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Sicilian Ricotta Cheesecake

 

Sponge cake:

Butter
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
Finely chopped rind of 1/2 lemon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3 egg whites

Filling:

1-1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 lb. fresh ricotta cheese
1 lb. mixed candied fruit
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 1-oz. squares semi-sweet chocolate, chopped in pieces
8 tbsp. Maraschino liqueur

To make the sponge cake:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10 inch spring-form cake pan.

Whisk the eggs yolks with the sugar, grated lemon rind and 3 tbsp. hot
water until light and foamy.

Sift the flour and baking powder together, and fold it into the egg
yolk mixture.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, but not dry. With a large spoon, fold
them into the cake mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 15 to 20
minutes, or until the cake is a rich golden colour and springs back when
pressed lightly. Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

For the filling:

Dissolve the sugar in 3 tbsp. of water over low heat. Beat the sugar
syrup with the ricotta cheese until it is smoothly blended. Put aside about
half of the best pieces of candied fruit to decorate the cake. Chop the
remainder coarsely.

Add the cinnamon to the sweetened ricotta and beat until smooth and
creamy. Put aside a few tbsp. of the mixture for decoration. Combine the
remainder with the chopped fruit and chocolate.

Cut the sponge cake in half horizontally. Put one layer on the bottom
of the cake pan, cut side up, and sprinkle it with half of the Maraschino.
Spread with the remaining cheese mixture. Fit the ring of the cake pan in
position and chill the cake for several hours.

When ready to serve, remove the cake from the pan and place it on a
large, flat serving dish. Coat the top and sides with the reserved cheese and
decorate with the reserved candied fruit.

You may also decorate the cake with whipped cream, and the candied
fruits may be supplemented with chopped nuts.





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