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Ricotta torta is a much lighter cheese cake then the traditional NY cheese cake. It has less fat content then cream cheese and like most Italian desserts is far less sweet. This is a large cake and only has 3/4 cup of sugar. Fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, honey or jam glazes not only add color but additional sweetness. We don’t usually add anything as it has a lovely lemon flavor.
Ricotta is made from sheep’s, goat, buffalo or cows milk whey, it containes a little less fat and is less dense as well. Ricotta is used in both dessert and savory recipes in Italy. Torta Di Pasqua Al Formaggio is an Easter speciality.
Torta Di Pasqua Al Formaggio
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour or until done @ 350º F
Yield: 12 Servings
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups solid vegetable shortening
1 egg, mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water
Additional cold water to mix the dough, if needed
2 pounds whole milk ricotta
3/4 cup sugar
1 lemon, zest only
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Other things needed
1 9” x 13” baking dish
Mix the dough ingredients and roll the dough into a 9” x 13” rectangle. Reserve 1/4th of the dough to make lattice strips to go on the top of the torta. This step is optional. Place it in a baking dish, fitting it so that it covers the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim the edges so that are the same size as your baking dish.
Cut the strips about 1” wide the width of the baking dish with a fluted cookie cutter. Lay one set of strips about 4” apart on the diagonal over the filling. Make another set of strips layering them over the first layer in the opposite direction. Cut the edges so that they fit against the sides of the pan.
Mix all the ingredients for the filling beating in one egg at a time.
Pour the mixture into the shell and place it in a 350º F oven for 1 hour or until done. Stick a toothpick into the middle; it should come out clean. Let it cool and place it in the refrigerator.
Cut the torta into squares. Serve fresh strawberries, or other toppings of your choice served on the side. You can also make a berry syrup, pureeing berries in your blender. Strain the berries to remove all the seeds. Add a few teaspoons of liquor and sugar to taste depending on how sweet the berries are. The syrup can be poured on the bottom of the plate; place the slice of cake on top and drizzle the syrup over the top.