- 3 pounds fresh ricotta
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1/4 cup grated zwieback or biscotti
- 1 teaspoon plus 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream or mascarpone, optional
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Your choice of additional flavorings like 1 teaspoon Dutch-process cocoa powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water, or 1/4 cup chopped citron or 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest and 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, etc.
Place the ricotta in a sieve over a bowl and let drain for 1 hour. Butter the bottom, sides and rim of a 3-inch-by-10-inch leakproof springform or plain round cake pan. Mix the grated zwieback crumbs with 1 teaspoon sugar and coat the pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the ricotta in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at low speed until smooth. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until smooth. Beat in the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar. Continue to beat until mixture is very smooth. Beat in the optional cream or mascarpone, vanilla and any desired flavoring. Pour into the pan and smooth the top.
Place the pan inside a roasting pan whose sides are not higher than the cake pan and add warm water to the larger pan to within 1 inch of the top of the smaller pan. Place pans in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours, covering the top loosely with foil after 30 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature in the water bath. Lift pan out, dry it and remove the foil. Refrigerate overnight, and it will firm up.
To unmold, slide a thin knife around the cake edges. Release the sides of the springform pan. If using a plain cake pan, invert onto a large plate covered with plastic wrap, tap the bottom and the cake should slide out. (If it does not, soak a towel in hot water, wring it out and place it over the bottom and sides of the pan for 10 seconds.) Reinvert cake onto a platter. Refrigerate until serving.
Makes 12 servings.
Photography by Stuart Spivak