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torta di ricotta

Recipe: torta di ricotta

Here’s a curious phenomenon revisited… One place I worked, which I affectionately refer to as Clusterfucks-R-Us, had a lot of questionable shenanigans going on. Like one of the married directors boinking his secretary and then moving her into my group for a job she wasn’t qualified to do. Anyway, when things got quite ugly, I decided they weren’t paying me enough to put up with all of their bullshit – so I tendered my letter of resignation with two weeks’ notice. Two weeks. Two weeks of me walking around the company with a big “fuck you” grin on my snarky face. It’s a good feeling. Teflon, I tell you.

crush the yolks like you would crush your enemies

So lately, I realized I’m getting that “fuck you” syndrome again. Because when you’re dealing with chemo and the whole cancer thing, there is a significantly reduced tolerance for idiots. And all of the people I patiently and politely put up with in the past… I’ve taken to blowing them off lately. The problem, which Jeremy posed to me this evening, is what to do when I’m coming back from the last chemo and returning to some semblance of a normal life? Yeah, I dunno. Not ready to think about that right now because I am very much enjoying not dealing with difficult individuals on a regular basis. I instructed Jeremy that upon my death I would like for him to read my shit list at my funeral, as in “Jen had a few parting thoughts to share. The following f’ers are on her permanent shit list. She really hated your freaking guts.” Ah ha ha ha! Hey, it’s my fantasy… You really have to achieve astounding levels of assholery to make my All Time Shit List and yeah, I do keep tabs.

don’t drown your sorrows in marsala, you’ll need it for the pastry crust

Since I’m not dead yet, here’s that Torta di Ricotta recipe I had promised from our chocolate tasting the other night. After all, life is too short for mother f’ers and the withholding of good recipes.

press the pastry dough into a springform

The original recipe instructed me to use 3/4 of the dough and press it to 3/4 inch below the rim of the pan. Lies. It shrinks a lot, so in the future I’m going to press the dough to the top and then it might actually shrink to the proper height for the batter volume. The other quarter of the dough is supposed to be cut into strips to make a lattice on top of the cake, but I nixed that in favor of the fruit garnish.

press the ricotta through a sieve

I’ve stated before that I am not a fan of cheesecake. A ricotta cheesecake is still a cheesecake, but this one feels lighter and the addition of the orange and lemon zests lends further to the illusion of a light and refreshing dessert.

citrus peel goodness

pour the batter into the baked crust

See how low that crust is? The batter tops out over the crust, but it all melds together in the end. However, I prefer the crust to be at least even with the cheesecake. Next time I’ll use all of the dough to the top of the pan.

complete with rifting

The original recipe doesn’t call for this, but I suggest placing a baking dish of water on the bottom rack of the oven when you bake your cake. It helps to prevent the cracking. Of course, I didn’t do this and got the cracking. Then again, I rather like thinking about free surfaces and fracture dynamics…

one way to cover up the cracking

I’m really not so pissy all the time or else I’d never be able to cook and bake. In fact, I’m very nice unless you’re some sort of freak or jerk. Then all bets are off.

transport yourself to someplace good

Torta di Ricotta
[print recipe]
modified from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Desserts

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsps dry Marsala wine
1/2 tsp salt
2 large egg yolks

32 oz. ricotta cheese
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
6 large eggs
grated peel of 2 medium oranges
grated peel of 2 lemons

In a large bowl, beat all pastry ingredients together on low speed until just mixed. Shape dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350°F. Press dough into a 10-inch springform pan – on the bottom and up the sides. Bake the crust 15 minutes until golden. Cool in pan on wire rack. While crust is cooling, prepare the filling. Press ricotta through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Beat the ricotta on medium speed until smooth. Slowly beat in the sugar, scraping the bowl often. Add cream, flour, vanilla, salt, eggs, orange and lemon peels and beat until well blended. Pour mixture into crust. Bake for 1 1/4 hours (I suggest placing a baking pan of water on a lower rack to prevent rifting of your cake surface). Turn the oven off and let cheesecake remain in oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until well-chilled. When cheesecake is firm, loosen from pan and remove to a serving plate. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar or top with fresh fruit.

44 nibbles at “torta di ricotta”

  1. manggy says:

    Darn straight it’s an illusion! That’s 2 freakin pounds of ricotta!!! Decadence to the 23rd power! Thank goodness I can only afford half a pound at a time, so I can only make tiny little inhalable portions of cheesecake. Given my willpower for dessert, I need to do such things :) I just saw a recipe for a refrigerated cheesecake recipe (9″, 8 servings) that was 950 calories a serving. Of course, the crust was made of crushed chocolate chip cookies.
    Well, calories, cracks, or no, I will still have a big slice, please :) Then let’s tele or sumfing afterwards. Hahaha.
    I find I have an unusually high tolerance for work asses, since there’s work to be done– just don’t let them encroach on my spare time. Life is indeed too short. The last one I met, I thought she was sincerely asking me what my family life is like, and once I felt comfortable and really started sharing, she told me to shut up and not give too much away since she said– to my face– that she was psychoanalyzing me. I almost vomited (uh.. projectile-ly?) onto her face. There were more instances of her being gross but I don’t want to give too much away since you might be psychoanalyzing me.
    I doubt, though, that people on your frag list would be so close as to attend you funeral! :D

  2. peabody says:

    You have got to love something with that much cheese and cream. That is some serious good looking torta action you have got going on there.

  3. Rosa says:

    Oh, I love ricotta tarts! Yours looks wonderful and very fragrant!



  4. Joanne at frutto della passione says:

    That looks amazing, thanks for the tips about the crust – and the cracking, but I have to admit that I always cover them up too!

  5. barbara says:

    Congrats on the last chemo. Have fun celebrating.

  6. zoe / puku says:

    I really love the pattern you’ve made with the strawberries, it’s just lovely.

    Good for you for just not bothering with freakshits… I’m often fraught between ‘must be civil and rise above’ and ‘goddamnit Fark Off I never wanna see you again!’… regarding your going back to normal life (congrats and best wishes!), maybe ‘normal life’ should really include not wasting time with people we don’t enjoy being around?

    and, like, more tortes?

  7. Maya says:

    Say it sistah! I have not made crust with booze before. It looks beautiful..the dessert not the marsala.

  8. Woolly says:

    This post is awesome… I have a “shit list” too, it is long and distinguished (it’s not hard to make my list thou)
    hey, if you got a list of people you wanna tell off but don’t think you got the nerve to do it… give me the list, I love telling people off (only if they really deserve it) it would be my pleasure.
    My fee would be that you would have to bake me one of the Torta di Ricotta you just posted. It looks so good I wanna lick my monitor!

  9. Nicisme says:

    Oh Jen, you do crack me up! I am so happy to read this post.
    Your torta looks really good – got any to spare?

  10. Lan says:

    thank you thank you thank you for posting this recipe, it looks divine and whilst i have a few assholes in my office who i’d like to kick in the nads, i will be making this dish for an office function next week.

  11. Amanda says:

    I have a shit list too, and I hope to mail them all off to the unlucky souls who have been total bitches! Of course, the non-resentful voice in my head says, oh if you do that, then that is how you will be remembered. But the other voice, the badass, screams, ehhhhhh screw ’em. Good to know I’m not the only one with these two conflicting sides :)

  12. Jenny says:

    Dear sweet God, we were separated at birth – although I am not Chinese – but somehow you are my long lost something or another. I have a shit list too – even though I have a habit of reciting it at any function wherein one of said listers happens to be and very likely annoying the be-Jesus out of me. I have a son with autism and that has given me super powers to wipe out anyone in my radius that gives us a look of “wow, your son is such brat” to which I gleefully reply, “he has autism what is your excuse?” Sorry, I had to get that out…sometimes when I feel overwhelmed by the world – I come here and feel better reading your beautiful words (most of them beautiful – some of them very funny) and viewing your gorgeous photos. Saying a prayer that your last chemo will be soon in the past.

  13. Christine says:

    Jen- your ricotta cake looks marvelous – I’d take it over regular cheesecake any day. I’ve seen recipes for cheesecake that call for covering the baking pan with foil before baking it in a bain marie. I imagine it has a similar effect as using the water-filled pan.

  14. Patricia Scarpin says:

    That is a lot of zest – yum!
    That tort looks wonderful.

  15. marcie says:

    Yea! Thank you so much for posting it! Do you think i could make this with a ghram cracker crust? oh and i am so with you on the shit list.

  16. Peter says:

    I take it you and the boss did not get “personal”? lol

    You have a great sense of humour, moxy for someone in your’re a fighter and you’ll be fine. This torta should ease the malaise in anyone!

  17. Graeme says:

    Beautiful. I feel like I should be wearing sunglasses; It’s so bright and wonderful.

    Great job story.

    “Jennifer, could you pass me th-”
    “Fuck. Yourself. :-)”

  18. Tartelette says:

    My list of shitters and fu#&ers has grown quite a bit lately, especially with the people who keep emailing with questions they can find the answer to on google and don’t even return a thank you email. One even asked that I paid half their restaurant bill after I recommended a place in ton and they were expecting Shoney’s….yeah right menu prices were online idiot!!
    This torta would certainly soothe my mood and calm my nerves!! The cut slice pictures does it for me!

  19. jenyu says:

    Mark – I sincerely wish you had been here to request a slice because I had to ask Jeremy to take the rest of the cake to his students! Just too rich (oh, I guess Jeremy did a decent job and had 3 slices before all was said and done). The work asses are hard to ignore when you have to work *with* them and they keep dropping the ball because, oh I dunno… they’re scampering off to have random trysts. Ugh. I’m not psychoanalyzing you, dear. I’ve already finished that ;) hee hee.

    I doubt, though, that people on your frag list would be so close as to attend you funeral! :D
    You’d be surprised!

    Peabody – it’s ridiculous, isn’t it?

    Rosa – thank you!

    Joanne – that’s true. Even if it comes out uncracked, it’s so much prettier with garnishes!

    Zoe – thank you :) yeah, it’s always this battle of being tolerant and being… honest! thanks. i’m hoping in two weeks i will be feeling happy and running my brains out in the mountains.

    Maya – the marsala gives a nice little punch to the pastry crust! pairs wonderfully with all of the citrus zest too!

    Woolly – I *knew* someone else would have a shit list too! yay!! Oh hon, the problem is that I HAVE the nerve to tell off these people, but… some of them are closer than you think. Thanks for the offer, but I have to be selfish since I think I’d take much greater satisfaction :) This cake wouldn’t ship well at all… someday we’ll find something good to ship across the continent to ya.

    Nicisme – where were you ricotta cheesecake-eating people when I served this on Saturday?!? Everyone was so full I couldn’t get any takers for leftovers!

    Lan – you’re so nice to those people. I should be so nice. (Actually I was, but no longer!)

    Amanda – ha ha ha! I love it. Those of us with shit lists are so sitting on the fence :) one day…

    Jenny – my word, I think we’ve founded a club. My dear friends have an autistic son (and another borderline autistic son). I have heard your sentiments before. You must have the patience of a saint. Do people tell you things like God chose you to have an autistic son because you’re such a good parent? That isn’t comforting. That’s stupid. Well, I’ve seen 2 camps of people who have raw deals fall into their laps: 1) those who deal and 2) those who don’t. For me, there is no choice but to move forward and kick it in the balls. More power to ya, hon.

    Christine – oh, I haven’t tried covering the pan with foil. More experimentation (except I can’t eat more than one slice before it becomes so yesterday!) You’ll have to come over and help me out :) We’ll grill some turkey burgers for Pierre too. hee hee.

    Patricia – thanks!

    Marcie – totally. I’ve done this before when I got lazy. It tastes great. But I must warn you that pastry crust is quite nice with the Marsala :)

    Peter – actually, he was very friendly to me because he’s that kind of a two-faced asshole. Jeremy and I were on Pearl Street one evening talking with a friend when that jackass came walking down the sidewalk. Jeremy saw him first and stepped between us so I wouldn’t see the jerkwad until after he had passed. Good thing, because it was shortly after I left the company and I probably would have had a lot of trouble not decking him (and he’s the type who would have decked me back – but I so would have been ready for it). ;) Ah well. Thanks!

    Graeme – ha ha ha! You got it, hon. That just sounds so GOOD! :)

    Tartelette – oh yes, you get those too? I imagine you get them tenfold more than I do. Peabody does too! Makes you wonder what planet of “Oh yeah, sure” they live on ;) The price of success, my dear. You are just such a sweet online personality!

  20. brilynn says:

    Those strawberries on top are gorgeous!
    And I definitely have a list… it grows on a daily basis, especially when I bike anywhere in the city… f’ing cars!

  21. mimi says:

    beautiful cheesecake from a cheesecake hater! and i love the idea about a permanent shit list. oh yes, D, you would be on it! mwwahaha.

  22. Brittany says:

    Oh thank you thank you thank you for posting this recipe. When I read about your chocolate tasting party, I was hoping to hear more about this.
    I knew you wouldn’t hold out on us : )

  23. Madam Chow says:

    Excuse me. I just swooned. This looks AWESOME.

  24. Ginny says:

    Oh delicious! The picture of zest has me hooked!!!

  25. White On Rice Couple says:

    In my professional life, I dream about telling all those on my shit list to go jump off a bridge. But they pay me, so I refrain .
    But in my private life, I don’t have a shit list. I’ve cleared it out long ago and I now sleep much better at night.
    Thanks for the cheese cake recipe!

  26. jenyu says:

    Brilynn – I love that so many people have a list and that I’m not the only one :)

    Mimi – ha ha ha!

    Brittany – great :)

    Madam Chow – thank you :)

    Ginny – yeah, that zest makes the flavor soooo lovely!

    WoRC – I’ve been there before… I so hear ya, sistah. Oh, I wish I could clear out my personal shit list… I’ve done a decent job thus far, but there are some difficult ones ;) You go girl!

  27. Jaime says:

    yum! that looks divine!

  28. nicole says:

    Diane from Whiteonrice sent me this link because I’ve been blogging recently about my job-hate.

    I am thankful for it.


  29. djstates says:

    Awesome recipe and awesome photos (as usual). Steroids do strange things to the mind, and in any case, you are not allowed to die until you have come to Michigan to sample the local strawberries when they are in season. The soft, fragrant morsels that won’t ship and need to be eaten today because the flavor is so intense.

    Luv ya,


  30. Speaking of cheese… « if only I had a kitchen says:

    […] 13, 2008 by winterflamingo Speaking of cheese, I made this lovely ricotta cheesecake this past weekend for our Equestrian Team end of the year […]

  31. Y says:

    Here’s hoping it never comes to that, but hahaha all the same, to the shit list :)

    Great strawberry recovery, with the cheesy seismological defect. It’s like it nevvvver happened..

  32. jenyu says:

    Jaime – thanks!

    Nicole – we all need to let it out from time to time ;)

    djstates – yup, I’ve been to MI before in summer – but enjoyed the cherries much more.

    Y – love the shit list! It makes me feel better at least ;) ha ha ha!

  33. Lan says:

    once again, a heartfelt thank you. i made this this week for a baby shower and it turned out alright. i also made your espresso panna cotta for another event and that was a hit too!

  34. jenyu says:

    Lan – great to hear it!

  35. palaisdeslys says:

    Your “torta” is incredible and amazing!!! I like ricotta and strawberry together!!

  36. jenyu says:

    Palaisdeslys – thank you :)

  37. Frederico says:

    Hi. Love your work. Presentation is impecable. Would you happen to know if the marsala is ommitable? Also, is that pastry what the Italians call pasta frolla? Thanks for an enjoyable recipe.

  38. jenyu says:

    Frederico – I think the marsala is probably fine to leave out, although it does lend some nice flavor. I don’t know what the pastry is in Italian ;) You may have better luck than I figuring it out :)

  39. Frederico says:

    Hi Jenyu. Thanks for the reply. I must give this a go – I’ve been looking for a good recipe for some time now and I think this is the one. What do you think of making a pastry disc and popping it on the top to close the cheese on the inside. Then it would be like a ricotta pie but I don’t know if this recipe will cook the pastry AND the cheese if it is closed??? Also, would you need a waterbath if the top is closed? I plan to sprinkle the top with cinnamon and icing sugar instead of strawberries :)

    Thanks in advance

  40. jenyu says:

    Frederico – I’m not sure about how well the inside will bake with the crust on top. Never tried that. Sorry! The topping sounds lovely.

  41. Francesca says:

    Jenyu thanks for the fabulous recipe and pictures. I made it for Easter and am sure all will love it.

  42. rachel . says:

    i have a question… u baked your cheescake at 350 degrees for an hour and a quater and it didn’t get brown?? i have made ricotta tortes in the past and i was using a commercial convection oven and it got pretty brown

  43. jenyu says:

    Rachel – I don’t use a convection oven.

  44. rachel says:

    ok sounds good i will just turn down the fan to low i prefer it not to be brown like yours so we shall see thank you

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