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Roma Cheesecake

Roma Cheesecake

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Serves 16-20.
By Dennis W. Viau; adapted from a recipe I saw on TV.

Roma Cheesecake might surprise those who eat it. American cheesecake has a smooth filling made with cream cheese. Roma Cheesecake, being Italian, uses sweetened Ricotta cheese. The filling also includes grated zest from the citrus fruit and sliced almonds for texture. This cheesecake is delicious.

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
3 cups (15 oz./425g) all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons (85g) sugar
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs; at room temperature
1 teaspoon anise flavoring (optional)
¾ cup (145g) butter; room temperature
For the Filling:
32 ounces (900g) ricotta cheese; drained
1/3 cup (70g) granulated sugar (½ cup (100g) for a sweeter filling)
3 large eggs; 1 separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (40g) sliced almonds
1 each, orange, lemon, and lime

Directions:

In a large bowl combine the flour and sugar. In a small bowl combine the water, salt, eggs (and anise flavoring, if using). Blend with a whisk. Add butter and blend until the butter is broken up into small beads. Add to the flour mixture and mix ingredients together until dry enough to knead. Knead until smooth. Wrap in plastic and set aside.

Separate 1 egg, reserving the egg white for coating the lattice with egg wash before baking. Combine the cheese, sugar, 2 eggs, 1 egg yolk, and vanilla. Grate the zest from half the orange and all the zest of the lemon and lime. Add the juice of half the orange and all the juice of the lemon and lime to the cheese mixture. Blend well. Stir in most of the almonds (reserve some for garnish) and the grated zest.

Divide the pastry dough into 1/3 and 2/3 portions. Roll the larger portion to shape a bottom crust (about 14 inches in diameter) and place in a 9-inch springform pan. Spoon the filling into the pastry shell and smooth the top. Roll the remaining piece of dough into a thin sheet. Cut into 10 to 12 long strips with a pastry cutter and lattice the top of the pie, sealing around the edges. Beat the reserved egg white and brush the lattice and dough edges. Sprinkle the top with the remaining almond slices.

Bake in the bottom third of a 375°F (190°C) oven for 60 to 70 minutes.

Allow to cool, remove from the springform pan, and chill in the refrigerator. Serve cold.