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.
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.
Serves 7 to 9
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.