Merry Christmas! This recipe is an old family favorite, handed down by my Great Grandmother Margaret. Actually, her name was Immaculata, but my Great Grandfather decided he preferred the name Margaret. I’m happy the name change happened before my birth since I was named after her. Immaculata Reyes Dempsey just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Grandma Margaret was quite the cook and took the handing down of the recipes seriously, apparently. My Mom had just arrived home from her honeymoon in 1964 when Grandma showed up to teach her how to make this cheesecake. The quickest way to a man’s heart… 😉
Originally, she made it at Easter time and it featured a crust and criss-cross strips across the top. However, none of us has been able to recreate Grandma’s tender touch with the dough required for that top. What should have been elevated train tracks over a ricotta cheese filling always ended up as a cheese cake with subway tracks below. However, being a gambling family, we had many a fun time peering through the oven window and wagering on just when those strips would begin sinking into the cheesecake. 🙂
Never fear, we’ve been making this version, sans subway tracks, for 46 years and for all occasions. It will be one of the two dozen desserts on our Christmas table, and it’s always a winner. Hope you enjoy it.
For best results, have ingredients at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 550 degrees.
1 dozen large eggs
1 – 48 oz. container ricotta
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 tbsp. each extract: vanilla, orange, lemon
1 tsp. anisette
- Beat eggs until foamy and set aside.
- Beat ricotta with sugar until blended and add 4 flavors – beating until thoroughly mixed.
- Pour eggs into ricotta mixture and beat just until blended.
- Put mixture into a 2 1/2 qt. Pyrex dish or springform pan. (We prefer Pyrex.)
- Place in oven, and lower temperature to 325 degrees.
- Bake about 1 1/2 hours or until top seems firm except for center, which should be slightly soft.
- Leave cake in oven with door slightly ajar for about 1/2 hour after turning the oven off. This prevents the cheesecake from sinking.