Gluten-free Italian Ricotta Cheesecake with Oranges and Almonds

Susan, AKA Kiwicook
Susan, AKA Kiwicook

Susan, AKA Kiwicook

In her days as a recipe developer, Susan has created over 450 recipes. Her Dutch and New Zealander roots serve as a basis for her culinary inspiration.

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GLUTEN-FREE ORANGE & ALMOND RICOTTA CHEESECAKE

Mamma Mia! We’re back in Italy (at least in the culinary sense) for this gluten-free, Italian style Orange and Almond Cheesecake, made with ricotta and mascarpone cheese.

I’ve made several cheesecakes now, always in the American style with cream cheese, so I thought it was high time I gave the Italian version a go. For those of you who don’t like the denseness associated with cream cheese versions, you might like to try this lighter alternative. Baking with ricotta ensures a distinctive texture which is, for want of a more eloquent description, ‘fluffy’ and slightly ‘grainy’, though as this recipe pairs the ricotta with mascarpone cheese the result is somewhat creamier. Ricotta is also more subtle in flavour than its tangier cream cheese cousin which, I think, provides a platform for the other flavours to really shine.

Thanks to Jenny Morris on Food Network.co.uk for this recipe which I adapted only slightly. The cheesecake, which was baked without a water bath, came together beautifully – not a crack in sight, and the texture inside was just as it should be. But… I did have issues with the crust and, specifically, the amount of butter used (the original recipe used 140g of it – that’s a whopping 9 tablespoons)! I should have listened to my gut instinct about there being so much of it, but didn’t, and I ended up with butter running out all over the place and a soft crust to boot. If I made this again, I’d use only 2-3 tablespoons of butter – I’ve changed the recipe accordingly. And, if there is a next time, I’d definitely consider baking the crust before pouring the filling over top, given how delicate and porous those amaretti biscuits are.

Crust issues aside, this Italian style cheesecake with its classic pairing of orange and almond was delicious and definitely worth the trying. If you’re looking for a cheesecake that’s gluten-free, light and flavoursome, this one certainly fits the bill.

GLUTEN-FREE ORANGE & ALMOND RICOTTA CHEESECAKE 2
GLUTEN-FREE ORANGE & ALMOND RICOTTA CHEESECAKE 2

Gluten-free Italian Ricotta Cheesecake with Oranges and Almonds

This decadent gluten-free cheesecake features a crunchy almond crust, a creamy ricotta filling infused with zesty orange, and a beautiful topping of honey-sweetened orange slices. The cheesecake can be made a day in advance. Try with Meyer lemons for a unique twist!
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Chilling Time 6 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 8 hours
Course Dessert
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 575 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the base:

  • 5.2 oz gluten-free Amaretti biscuits
  • 2.8 oz whole blanched almonds or ground almonds (almond meal)
  • 1-1.4 oz butter, melted (or just enough for the crumbs to hold together)

For the cake:

  • 17.6 oz fresh ricotta
  • 8.8 oz mascarpone
  • 5.6 oz caster sugar
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 3 large eggs
  • Optional: 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

For the topping:

  • 2 large oranges
  • ½ cup honey
  • Optional: 4.2 oz sliced almonds, toasted

Instructions
 

  • For the base, place the biscuits and whole or ground almonds into the bowl of your food processor and combine until it resembles coarse sand. Add the melted butter (you may not need all of it) until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Press the mixture into the base of the cake tin (I use the base of a glass to ensure it’s pressed in well and evenly). Refrigerate for at least half an hour.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (320°F) and line the base of a 23cm spring-form cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides.
  • For the filling, place the ricotta, mascarpone and orange zest into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until well combined. Add the caster sugar in gradually until combined and smooth. Add the vanilla or almond essence (if using), then the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition, until thoroughly combined. Spoon the filling onto the base and level out the top with a spatula.
  • Bake in the pre-heated oven for 60-70 minutes. The top will rise quite a bit towards the end of baking – don’t worry, it will settle back down again as it cools. The cheesecake is ready when the sides are firm, but the centre is still jiggly and may even look a little wet – this is perfectly normal, as the cake will firm up considerably as it chills.
  • Take out of the oven and set on a cake rack to cool. Take a thin knife or fine spatula and run it around the outside edges of the cake – this will prevent cracking as it cools. Once completely cooled, place the cheesecake in the fridge, cover lightly with a piece of foil and leave for several hours (preferably overnight) to set and firm up.
  • Thinly slice the two oranges. Put the honey in a large, shallow pan on medium heat; when it starts to foam add the orange slices and cook them at a slow simmer until they are soft and golden brown – 10-15 minutes. Then transfer them to a tray lined with wax paper and allow them to cool.
  • When ready to serve, take the cheesecake out of the fridge, remove from the spring-form pan and transfer to your serving plate. Line the orange slices around the perimeter of the cake (along with toasted almonds if using). Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

Nutrition

Calories: 575kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 15gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 170mgPotassium: 166mgFiber: 2gSugar: 51gVitamin A: 892IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 208mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Gluten-Free, Orange Almond Ricotta Cheesecake
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Susan, AKA Kiwicook
About The Author
Susan, also known as the Kiwi Cook, hails from Levin, New Zealand, and has a unique Kiwi-Dutch-British heritage that influenced her culinary upbringing. As an artist, tutor, writer, and editor, Susan dedicates her weekends to creating delectable dishes. Her food philosophy embraces moderation and listening to her body's needs.

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for sharing, I’ve never made this version but love to bring a little Italy into the kitchen too 😉
    Note taken re: base too!
    Thanks!

    Reply

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