October 31, 2013

ExtraDolcemente Pisa

There is a lovely artisanal sweets fair in Pisa yearly. I participated in creating a dessert using olive oil for one of their online events.

I created a sweet sformata,  a flan sort of a cheesecake, based on a friends savory dish. I have been making olive oil gelato since I first heard about it and of course in America we have several great recipes for cakes using oil instead of butter.

My basic ratio in baking with olive oil is to add 2/3 the amount of oil--- instead of the butter called for in cakes and cookies. I think we all began with Carrot Cake and Zucchini bread using light oils, but here I use olive oil.

In Sicily, they also use olive oil in a pound cake which is very moist and lovely and I recently learned to make an extruded cookie using oil too.

In Rome, I have had a red wine and olive oil cookie, shaped like a taralli which I adore.

So here is my Cheesecake, I used the same recipe I use to make my gelato, but for the gelato  only use egg yolks, not the whole egg and I substituted ricotta for whole cream.

I based it on a cheesecake we made when I worked at the Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco. The it is very creamy and smooth, as it is baked in a hot water bath.

Ricotta Cheesecake with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

9 ounces of fresh ricotta, I use fresh sheep's milk ricotta
3 whole eggs, large
2 tbs sugar or more to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter an 8 inch cake pan and cut baking paper to fit the bottom and place inside.

Mix the ricotta with the sugar.
Add the eggs one at a time.
Slowly mix in the olive oil.

Pour the mixture into the mold and bake in a water bath at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a 
knife comes out clean.

Let cool completely, dust the top of the cheesecake with granulated sugar, then turn out onto a plate and quickly remove the baking parchment and cover the bottom with chopped hazelnuts and turn back onto a small plate, the nuts now forming the bottom of the cheesecake.

Fresh ricotta is easy to find in Italy, it is made from "re-cooking" they whey after the cheese is made, hence ri-cotta.

I see so many online recipes to make your own ricotta at home, which is not ricotta as it is using whole milk, so really just a fresh cheese.

There was just a great taste test done on ricotta by Serious Eats- read to learn what they discovered.
It is really important when you are going to be baking the ricotta.

Experiment and enjoy!


  1. WOWWWW that looks SO YUMMY mmm:) your blog is my addiction now haha

    Check out one of my Swedish fav. recipies in the link above:)

    Have a wonderful day dear

    LOVE Maria at inredningsvis - The Swedish home decor blog

  2. Thank you for sharing this wonderful cheesecake recipe Judy! Grazie mille!

  3. Can you add lemon zest and juice to this? Will the juice change composition? What about just zest?

  4. @sara no problem adding lemon-- i would add at the end. what really makes the difference is the quality of the ricotta!

  5. This looks great. I love cooking desserts with olive oil. I have a recipe for the red wine and olive oil cookies if you are interested.

  6. Since I first tasted olive oil ice cream, I have been hooked on discovering more recipes to switch out the butter/oil for olive oil. A few days ago I made an olive oil cake adding a little Grand Marnier and orange peel ( trying to re create a cake I recently sampled at a restaurant). The flavor of the cake has continued to improve. Your Ricotta Cheese Cake looks delicious! What kind of extra virgin olive oil do you use when baking?

  7. Anonymous10:51 PM

    What happens if you live in fly-over country and there's only store bought ricotta? : (

  8. Is 2 tsp of sugar really enough to sweeten the cake? Sounds like very little, can you please confirm the quantity in the recipe?
    Thank you!

  9. Thank you for this interesting recipe!
    As you'll probably know, European chefs/cooks usually measure the ingredients in our recipes in grams. Recipe are just much easier to reproduce when using scales. A gram is the same in every kitchen; a cup or a tablespoon is not. So American recipes are always puzzling for us; are the measures in this recipe (eg. "9 ounces of ricotta") by weight or by volume?

    1. @hex nut, living in europe i do weigh things... for this recipe i used a 300 gram container of ricotta, which is about 9 ounces and 2 soup spoons of sugar, 2 70 gram eggs and 50 ml of olive oil.

  10. This looks SO GOOD! I have a strange question for you Judy - I would love to make this and bring it to a friend's for Thanksgiving this week. Do you think it could be made a day in advance (or even 2?) and would it keep if kept very cool - but not refrigerated - for a drive?

  11. Sounds yummy, and yay, no flour! Will this recipe work with US grocery store ricotta?

  12. I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.