It’s the classic cheesecake, with an Italian twist! Serve it up for Easter dessert and everyone will ask for seconds.
Becky Low shares the recipe for this tasty spring cheesecake.
Italian Easter Cheesecake
- 2 crust unbaked pie crust
- 1 carton (30 oz) whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 ⅓ cups sugar
- 8 eggs
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 teaspoons orange, lemon or vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups cooked wheat berries, pearl barley, or rice*
- ½ cup finely chopped candied citrus or citron, optional**
- Powdered sugar for dusting, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter the sides and bottom of a springform pan (or 9×13 pan). Lightly dust the sides and bottom with flour and set aside.
Prepare pastry. Line the bottom and sides of the prepared pan with pastry (or 1 pie crust). NOTE – if using pie crust, roll one crust large enough to line the bottom and sides of the baking pan. Roll second crust out and cut into strips about 1-inch wide.
Stir together Ricotta cheese and sugar. Whisk in eggs, lemon and orange zest, and the extract. Stir in wheat berries and optional candied citrus. Pour filling into prepared pan.
If using pie crust, place strips of pastry in lattice of crisscross fashion over top of filling. Fold down edges and crimp. Bake for about 75-90 minutes or until filling is almost set and top is golden brown.
Cool completely and refrigerate until ready to serve (best eaten the following day). Before serving, dust with optional powdered sugar. Serves 10-12
This recipe is an slight adaptation of Italian Pastiera – a traditional Neapolitan cake served at Easter. The recipe varies by region and often has cooked wheat berries, citron, and candied fruit. For best flavor and texture, prepare the day before (which also saves time Easter day). Serves 10-12
* Wheat berries are cooked whole wheat (well cook for this recipe). Wheat is traditional, but you may substitute cooked barley or rice. Some recipes call for chopped pine nuts or almonds, other recipes leave these ingredients out completely. As with all recipes, it is personal preference and availability of ingredients.
** Chopped citron or candied fruit is often used, but optional. Use of lemon or orange zest is nice substitute for flavor.
Becky Low represents The Dairy Council of Utah/Nevada a partner of Dairy West. For delicious dairy recipes and nutrition information go to: https://dairywest.com/recipe/