You may remember two years ago, in May of 2014, that my husband and I went on a trip to Italy. It was my 52nd birthday and my first trip to Europe. While in Florence we took a cooking class and learned to make a traditional Italian Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake. I thought it was time to revisit this classic recipe, change it up a bit and make individual sized portions. This Lemon Vanilla Ricotta Cheesecake with Strawberry Coulis is divine!
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Making ricotta cheesecake is far more simple than a traditional American cheesecake. It takes only a few minutes to whisk the batter together and only 30 minutes to bake.
For my Italian birthday cake we used a recipe straight from a cookbook published in 1891! The version we are making today is slightly different. I added vanilla, more citrus and ricotta and less eggs.
This cheesecake is gluten/grain free. You can use almond flour or Otto’s Cassava Flour in place of traditional wheat flour. If you choose cassava flour the cheesecake will have a smoother texture. The almond meal is slightly more grainy, but both work well and are delicious!
Instead of baking in a spring form pan like my birthday cake, I chose to make individual sized desserts using a cupcake tin. I top each cheesecake with slivered almonds, this way when we turn the cheesecakes over we have a smooth top and nutty “crust” on the bottom!
These tasty little cakes are drizzled with strawberry coulis and topped with berries! Coulis is simply fruit, sugar and lemon juice blended until smooth. Notice the little specks of real vanilla bean? I use Nielsen Massey Vanilla Paste. It’s simply the best! I buy the quart, it’s a real money saver.
The Recipe: Individual Lemon Vanilla Ricotta Cheesecakes with Strawberry Coulis
Tips and what you will need: This recipe was adapted from the “Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well” cookbook (affiliate link). You will need: cooking spray, I use this organic spray from La Tourangelle, 1 or 2 cupcake tins, unbleached parchment paper, almond flour or Otto’s Cassava Flour and a blender. I love my Blendtec! This recipe is gluten and grain free!
This recipe is an adaptation from an old Italian recipe for Torta Di Ricotta found in the cookbook Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well. You can use your favorite choice of flour. I use grain free almond flour or cassava flour. Ricotta cheese will need to have the water removed. Allow two hours to let cheese sit in strainer.
- 2 lbs whole milk ricotta cheese drained of water
- 5 eggs
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup almond meal or cassava flour
- zest of 2 large lemons
- zest of one orange
- 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or 1 tsp extract, but I always recommend paste!
- sliced almonds
- assorted berries for topping
- 6 fresh or thawed frozen strawberries
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Juice of half a large lemon
- 1-2 Tablespoons water if needed to thin out coulis
Do ahead! Place a strainer (colander) on top of a large bowl. Line colander with paper towel. Put ricotta cheese into strainer and place in the fridge for two hours. This will remove excess water. Discard water.
Preheat oven to 325 and place rack in center of oven. Cut parchment paper by folding paper in half four times. Cut circles the size of the bottom of your cupcake tins. You may have to cut a few more as this recipe makes about 15 servings. Place paper in tins. Spray sides of tins and paper with good quality organic non stick spray.
Whisk together ricotta cheese, eggs and salt until well combined.
Add sugar and almond meal or cassava flour.
Add lemon and orange zest and vanilla, and mix well
Fill prepared cupcake tins 3/4 full, sprinkle with almonds. Bake for 30 minutes or until center of cakes are set. Allow to cool and then slide a sharp knife around edges of each tin to separate cheesecakes. Very gently remove cakes from tin. Remove parchment paper. Turn cakes over so almonds are on the bottom and place on a serving dish. Drizzle with strawberry coulis. and top with berries.
Place strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a blender and blend till smooth.
Enjoy! ~ Linda Spiker
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