All you need is 5 ingredients for this lighter, airy, gluten-free cheesecake recipe. With some advance preparation and by following my simple tips, you can have the perfect ricotta cheesecake to serve at your next gathering. For best results, make Italian cheesecake a night in advance to give it several hours to chill and set in the fridge. And be sure to mix the batter for a good 10 minutes -- this is the secret to a perfectly airy lemon ricotta cheesecake!
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a blade, add the cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Mix, starting on low and increasing to medium-low (2 on the KitchenAid mixer) speed for 10 minutes. The mixture will look light and fluffy, like a batter of sorts. If using a hand-mixer, keep the speed low. If using a wooden spoon, mix continuously until fluffy.
Coat the bottom and sides of a 9" springform pan with olive oil (this is very important or the cake will stick to the pan). Place the springform pan on a large sheet pan.
Pour the batter into the springform pan and give it a little shake.
Bake for 30 minutes at 425 degrees F, then turn the heat down 375 degrees F and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes or until the batter has mostly firmed up and the top of the cake has gained a nice golden brown color (the cake may still jiggle slightly when you take it out, but it will become fully firm once cooled).
Remove from the heat and allow the cake to cool completely (1 to 2 hours) and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. If you have the time, it’s best to refrigerate the cake overnight).
When the cake is fully chilled, you can remove the springform pan. Slice and serve! And if you like, add a bit more lemon zest over each piece.
Strain the ricotta cheese very well for a creamy, not watery, cheesecake batter. Bring ingredients to room temperature before baking.
Mix the batter for at least 10 minutes for an airy cheesecake.
Use a springform pan and don't forget to oil the bottom and sides!
Use a thermometer or the wobble test to check when the ricotta cheesecake is done. Cooked cheesecake will have an internal temperature of 150 degrees F. Or simply tap the side of the springform pan with a spoon. Uncooked Italian cheesecake will slosh around, while cooked cheesecake will have a very slight jiggle, but will be mostly firm.
Allow the cheesecake to cool completely before serving! For best results, allow the cheesecake to cool completely at room temperature in the springform pan, and then cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Storage: Ricotta cheesecake will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then foil. You can also freeze individual slices. Thaw overnight in the fridge.