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SICILIAN RICOTTA CHEESECAKE

Sponge cake:

 
Butter

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

Finely chopped rind of 1/2 lemon

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

3 egg whites

Filling:

1-1/2 cup sugar

1-1/2 lb. fresh ricotta cheese

1 lb. mixed candied fruit

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

3  1-oz. squares semi-sweet chocolate, chopped in pieces

8 tbsp. Maraschino liqueur

To make the sponge cake:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10 inch spring-form

cake pan.

Whisk the eggs yolks with the sugar, grated lemon rind and 3

tbsp. hot water until light and foamy.

Sift the flour and baking powder together, and fold it into the

egg yolk mixture.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, but not dry. With a large

spoon, fold them into the cake mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 15 to

20 minutes, or until the cake is a rich golden color and springs

back when pressed lightly. Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

For the filling:

Dissolve the sugar in 3 tbsp. of water over low heat. Beat the

sugar syrup with the ricotta cheese until it is smoothly

blended. Put aside about half of the best pieces of candied

fruit to decorate the cake. Chop the remainder coarsely.

Add the cinnamon to the sweetened ricotta and beat until smooth

and creamy. Put aside a few tbsp. of the mixture for decoration.

Combine the remainder with the chopped fruit and chocolate.

Cut the sponge cake in half horizontally. Put one layer on the

bottom of the cake pan, cut side up, and sprinkle it with half

of the Maraschino. Spread with the remaining cheese mixture. Fit

the ring of the cake pan in position and chill the cake for

several hours.

When ready to serve, remove the cake from the pan and place it

on a large, flat serving dish. Coat the top and sides with the

reserved cheese and decorate with the reserved candied fruit.

You may also decorate the cake with whipped cream, and the

candied fruits may be supplemented with chopped nuts.

 

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