Pezza Dolce means a piece of sweetness in Italian and is a tasty treat that comes from the Southern Italian city of Bari. This flour-less, gluten free ricotta cheesecake is a light and wholesome sweet snack that you can feel good about feeding family or friends. It’s a celebration of spring with simple ingredients: eggs and ricotta cheese. I like to serve it with fresh cherries or seasonal berries.
This recipe came to Canada over 50 years ago with my friend Sarah’s mother. Sarah loves cooking and baking, and has been working to preserve her family’s recipes to share with a new generation.
This ricotta cake is easy to make and works well with many flavours. I like to combine lemon peel and citric liqueur, such as Limoncello or Cointreau. If you’re going old school Italian, Sambuca and lemon peel are for you.
Once you remove the cake from the oven, the puffy cheesecake will deflate while it cools. This is normal and will not affect the flavour.The cake tastes best slightly warm and on the same day you bake it.
*Carla’s Tip*: Bring all of the ingredients to room temperature to allow them to more easily mix uniformly and blend in to a creamy texture. Also, if you are unable to find extra smooth ricotta, press the ricotta through a ricer to make a creamy ricotta best suited for this recipe. Adjust the sugar to your taste.
- 1 lb (450 g) ricotta cheese, extra smooth
- 2/3 cup (160 mL) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) milk or cream
- 6 eggs
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) Flavoured Liqueur, such as Sambuca or Cointreau
- Finely grated zest from a small lemon
- 1 Tbsp (15mL) ground cinnamon
- Lightly grease a 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate or baking dish and set aside. Preheat oven at 350F.
- In a large bowl combine the ricotta with sugar and milk, until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and ensuring that eggs are well incorporated into ricotta. Add the Liqueur and lemon zest to batter; mix well until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pie plate. Sprinkle the cinnamon evenly over the cake (as desired).
- Place foil loosely over top the dish (tent style) and place in the centre of the oven for approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes. The cake is ready when it no longer jiggles in the centre.
- Begin checking cake after 75 minutes of baking time, as each oven varies slightly. Remove cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. If desired serve with a variety of sliced berries.