Monday, May 5, 2014

Grandma's Italian Cheesecake

I don't love cheesecake. I find it to be too heavy, which is odd because I love cream cheese. However, I didn't really know growing up that I didn't like typical cheesecake because I was fortunate enough to experience my Grandma's Italian cheesecake. She tweaked and edited this recipe with her sister until it was perfect, and let me tell you: it is perfect. It is light and fluffy, yet still creamy.

This cake is also not cheap. I think the ingredients cost me about $15 to make for our egg hunt party. However, it serves quite a few. After feeding nineteen people plus a baby who eats a lot, I had about 1/3 of the cake left!

My egg system was to keep the egg shells until I was done cracking and separating so I would not lose count

2 pie crusts (I use Pillsbury)
2 lb ricotta (I use Polly-O)
15 egg yolks, well beaten (yes, I really do mean 15 - see picture above)
2 c sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp cornstarch
1 qt whipping cream (Grandma uses coffee cream, but it is not always easy to find)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Press the pie crusts into a 9x13 pan. The crust should go up to almost the top of the pan (overlap is okay)
3. Drain ricotta if it is too watery. Polly-O is usually fine without this step.
4. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and corn starch in small bowl.
5. Beat your egg yolks in a very large bowl.
6. Mix the dry ingredients into the egg yolks. It will be very sloshy.
7. Mix the cream into the large bowl.
8. Pour mixture (still very sloshy) into the prepared pan.
9. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes.
10. Without removing the cake from the oven, decrease temperature to 350 and bake for 1 hour.
11. If the center is still super wiggly when removed from the oven, bake for another 15 minutes. A toothpick should come mostly clean, but wiggling is the best indicator. A bit of wiggling is good, a lot is not.

I'm serious about the bowl being large

The batter fills up the pan entirely

This is a great cake to make for large groups but I also like having it for smaller groups because then you have leftovers. Yum! Do you have a favorite family recipe that is very different from what you find in restaurants? We would love to hear about it!