Rosalind Mann of Baltimore was looking for a recipe for a ricotta cake. She did not give any detail as to what type of cake she was looking for, and I received several variations of what our readers knew as ricotta cakes.
I was most intrigued with a recipe sent in by Frances Bedini of Florida, Mass. Her recipe, called Italian Ricotta Cake, came from her mother-in-law, who Bedini says made it for the family every Christmas. It is much like a cheesecake, with a buttery bottom crust topped with a rich creamy filling. It will keep well for several days in the refrigerator and will be a nice addition to any dessert buffet. Try to make it at least a day before serving.
The nutritional analyses accompanying recipes in today's You section were calculated by registered dietitian Jodie Shield, except where noted.
ITALIAN RICOTTA CAKE
(serves 12 to 14)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brandy or cognac
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 pounds ricotta cheese (drain off any liquid)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
3 egg whites, beaten stiff
zest from 1/2 orange and 1/2 lemon (divided use)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (divided use)
To make crust: : Cream butter and gradually add sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add brandy. Add flour and baking powder. Mix just until dough forms. Press dough into a greased and floured 9-inch-by-13-inch pan. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
To make filling: : Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat ricotta cheese for 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sugar and cream. Fold in beaten egg whites. Spoon half of the mixture over crust. Sprinkle with half of the citrus zest and half of the cinnamon. Gently spoon in the rest of the mixture. Sprinkle with remaining citrus zest and cinnamon. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done. Turn off oven and let cake cool in oven for at least 2 hours. Chill before serving.
Per serving (based on 14 servings): : 472 calories, 17 grams protein, 23 grams fat, 14 grams saturated fat, 51 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 176 milligrams cholesterol, 228 milligrams sodium