Lemon-Ricotta Cheesecake

Ingredients

30 vanilla wafers
4 Tbsp margarine or butter (1/2 stick)
4 tsp grated lemon peel
1-1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
4 large eggs
2 cup half-and-half or light cream
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
lemon-peel strips and mint sprigs for garnish

Directions

In food processor with knife blade attached or in blender at medium speed, blend vanilla wafers until fine crumbs form (makes about 1 cup crumbs). Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In small saucepan, melt margarine or butter over low heat; stir in 1 tsp lemon peel. In a 9" by 3" springform pan, with a fork, stir wafer crumbs and melted margarine mixture until moistened. With hand, press mixture firmly onto the bottom of the pan. Bake crust 10 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack, about 30 minutes. Wrap outside of pan with foil. Turn oven to 325 degrees. In cup, combine sugar and cornstarch until blended. In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat cream cheese and ricotta cheese until smooth, about 5 minutes; slowly beat in sugar mixture. At low speed, beat in eggs, half-and-half, lemon juice, vanilla, and remaining 3 tsp lemon peel just until blended, scraping bowl often with a rubber spatula. Pour cream-cheese mixture onto crust. Bake cheesecake 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn off oven; let cheesecake remain in oven 1 hour longer. Remove cheesecake from oven and cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate cheesecake at least 6 hours or overnight until well chilled. Remove side of pan to serve. Garnish with lemon peel and mint sprigs. Makes 16 servings.



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