Cakes, Pies and Cupcakes

Ricotta Cheesecake Recipe – Lightened!

Ricotta cheesecake is a classic recipe handed down from our mom.  A smooth and creamy cheesecake that is made mostly with ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and some light cream.  And, with a hint of lemon in it, it is considered to be light as a feather with every bite.  It reminds us of a New York cheesecake; only its incredibly lighter in texture, with half the calories and half the fat.

I decided to take our family’s Italian cheesecake recipe, which has been in our family for over 40 years and experimented with it to recreate a lighter version.  Italian cheesecake is commonly served on Easter Sunday along with chocolates, pastries and Italian cookies.

With 3 attempts, I finally achieved the smooth and creamy texture I was looking for in a cheesecake, with half the calories, and half the fat than most cheesecakes out there.

I used whole milk ricotta cheese (Polly-O or Sorrento) with Philadelphia whipped cream cheese along with some half-and-half.   I believe these were the key ingredients to making this cheesecake so light and airy.   In fact, these 3 ingredients actually helped cut the calories and the fat by 50%, which was an added plus!

It turned out really good.  Everyone gave it a thumbs up!  They described  it as insanely delicious,  and that it tasted so light with a refreshing flavor of lemon to it.

It’s an easy recipe to follow.  You can make this cheesecake up to 2 days ahead; the longer you refrigerate, the better it gets.  All you need with this ricotta cheesecake is some powdered sugar on top and some fresh berries on the side. I think you will enjoy this one!

 Ricotta Cheesecake Recipe- Lightened!

  • 1 + 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 4 Tbsp. butter- melted
  • cooking spray
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Zest of one large lemon (about 3 Tbsp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice ( about 1/2 lemon)
  • 8 or 11.5 ounce whipped cream cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 cups Half-and-Half
  • powdered sugar to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a 10 inch spring form cake pan, lightly spray the sides with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 3 tablespoons of sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Press firmly on the bottom of the pan.
Bake in a preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat eggs with an electric hand mixer on high speed. 
Beat until smooth. Add 1/2 cup sugar, flour and vanilla extract.
Add whipped cream cheese, beat until smooth.
On low speed, slowly beat in ricotta cheese, half and half, and lemon juice and zest.
Beat until very creamy and well combined. Slowly pour cheese mixture into crust.

Place the cheesecake pan on top of a baking sheet, and place on the center rack of oven.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Carefully remove from oven and place on counter or rack to cool for 1 hour. The cheesecake will appear high like a souffle, but will shrink down as it cools. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight is best. Before you serve, run a knife around the edges of the pan, then open the clip.  Serve with fresh berries on top or on the side.  Garnish with some powdered sugar on top.

Serves 7 to 9

Options / Additions:
1. Stir in 1/2 cup of finely chopped almonds into the batter before baking. This will give a grainy texture to the cheesecake, similar to the Italian ricotta cheesecake.
2. Try orange zest and orange juice instead of the lemon.

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  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    April 8, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    I have always wondered about ricotta cheesecakes – and with half the fat and calories – what's not to love! I think this is a must try in my book. Thanks ladies!

    • Reply
      April 8, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      Thanks Tricia, I made it again today for a dinner party we're having tomorrow night. Have a great day !! Xxoo

  • Reply
    Carol Szafalowicz
    April 8, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Wow…….that's all I can say. Just finished eating your recipe Spaghetti with Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce……
    seriously, the house smells like the best restaurant I've ever been to and it tastes amazing.
    I did add caper's after it was finished and it brought it up to the next level……….. Love your recipes.
    They all turn out so wonderfully. Thanks so much. Warmly, Carol from Chicago

    • Reply
      April 8, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      Thank you Carol ! It's always a pleasure to hear from you.
      The addition of the capers
      sounds amazing, great idea!!
      Thanks again for the lovely comment. Xxoo Anna and Liz

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    April 8, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    it looks amazing girls! I love cheesecake and I love lemon. Never tried them both together although I know that seems strange. Just never have but now i want to

    • Reply
      April 9, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      Thanks Jessica. iIf you like both, then you'll love this recipe! Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Roz Corieri Paige
    April 8, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    This would be so perfect for spring, summer, EASTER too! I love ricotta cheesecakes . . . nothing quite like their dreamy, creamy lightness yet so flavorful! I wanted to look you up in Charleston over last weekend while I was there for a cooking class at the new Southern Season (see my blog post), but my 87 year old mother wasn't up to much more activity. NEXT TIME THOUGH!!!! Maybe we can hook up and attend a class there together?

    • Reply
      April 9, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      I only wished I knew you had signed up for that class, I could have joined you. Absolutely- next time for sure! Have a great week!

  • Reply
    Dan from Platter Talk
    April 9, 2014 at 2:26 am

    I can't imagine how this could look (or taste) any better! I sure wish I was your taste-tester! Nice job and great sounding/looking recipe!

    • Reply
      April 9, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      Thanks Dan, you would be at the top of my list!! Have a great day!

  • Reply
    April 9, 2014 at 11:27 am

    I adore ricotta cheesecake so much more than cheesecake cheesecake! It somehow feels so much lighter.

    • Reply
      April 9, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      I hear ya!! We do too! Thanks Joanne!

  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    April 10, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Oh my, pinning this one immediately 🙂

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