Torta Di Ricotta | DonalSkehan.com, Kristina Gill, co-author of Tasting Rome, shares her recipe for Torta Di Ricotta aka Ricotta Cheesecake!
  • desserts-baking

Torta Di Ricotta

March 27

Though menus all over town call the local ricotta cake a “cheesecake,” it is a bit of a misnomer. Ricotta isn’t technically cheese, but rather the high-protein, high-fat by-product of cheese production. In Rome, it is generally made from sheep’s milk. Ricotta cake made with sour cherry (visciole) jam is a classic of the Roman Jewish tradition and similar to the cassola cheesecake that developed during the Ghetto period. Our no-bake cheesecake is inspired by the flavors of the classic version. Remember you’ll need to chill the cake for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

Reprinted from Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City. Copyright © 2016 by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Kristina Gill. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

  • serves Serves 8
  • time 120 mins + setting time


  1. 1. Make the sponge cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
  2. 2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until the mixture is light yellow and fluffy and forms ribbons on the surface when the paddle is lifted, about 4 minutes.
  3. 3. In a clean bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and salt and whisk on medium speed until they form soft peaks.
  4. 4. Working in three batches, sift the flour over the egg yolk mixture, delicately folding in each batch before adding the next. Add about one-third of the egg whites and gently mix to combine and loosen the batter. Fold in the rest of the whites with a spatula, taking care not to deflate them. The final batter should be of a dropping consistency. If the mixture becomes pasty and dry, add up to 3 tablespoons whole milk, a tablespoon at a time, to loosen it up.
  5. 5. Carefully transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and bake until the cake has started to pull away from the sides and is springy to the touch, about 30 minutes.
  6. 6. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely, about 45 minutes. Halve the cake horizontally. Return one layer, cut-side up, to a clean, parchment paper–lined springform pan. Wrap the other half in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze for another use.
  7. 7. Make the cherry glaze and filling: In a small pan, whisk two-thirds of the preserves with a little more than a tablespoon of water and cook over medium heat until the mixture becomes liquid, about 1 minute. Strain the preserves through a sieve into a small bowl and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Brush the sponge cake layer with the glaze, and set aside the remainder to use as a topping for the cheesecake.
  8. 8. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until combined and fluffy. Gradually mix in the cream, then fold in the remaining cherry preserves.
  9. 9. To assemble the cheesecake: Pour the filling into the prepared pan over the sponge layer, smooth the top with an offset spatula, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  10. 10. Warm the reserved glaze with the sour cherries briefly on the stovetop. Pour the glaze and cherries over the cheesecake immediately before serving.


Makes 1 torta di ricotta

For the sponge cake:

5 large eggs, separated

½ cup plus 2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

¹⁄8 tsp sea salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

Up to 3 tbsp whole milk, as needed

For the cherry glaze and filling:

1 1/2 cups sour cherry preserves

12 ounces ricotta (we like sheep’s-milk varieties)

8 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup heavy cream

Sour cherries (dried or fresh), for garnish

You'll Need

9-inch springform pan

Stand mixer

Paddle & whisk attachments


Cooling rack

Small pan

Small bowl

Offset spatula