Twelve Days of Christmas: The Best Cheesecake

This cheesecake is dense

This cheesecake is dense

This is my nana’s cheesecake recipe and it is fairly advanced. It is perfect for a large group of people due to how rich and creamy it turns out. The dough is very tricky so be gentle. Go here for how to make your own ricotta. It needs to be very firm so let it drain for at least 24 hours.

Italian Cheesecake


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1-3 tbsp fresh orange juice


  • 2 lbs fresh firm ricotta
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs + 1 egg white
  • 1 1/2 tsp flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest

To make the dough: Mix dry ingredients and cut in butter. Add egg, vanilla and 1 tbsp juice and mix together. Continue to add juice until a smooth pie dough forms but it should not be as soft as normal pie dough. Do not over knead. Wrap dough and refrigerate for 1 hour. Divide dough into 2 parts that equal 1/3 and 2/3. Take the larger part and place it between 2 sheets of floured wax paper. Roll dough out into a 10″ circle flip often to eliminate wrinkles and thick parts. carefully remove top layer of wax paper and place into a greased pie pan. Carefully remove other piece of paper. The dough is very fragile. Mix all ingredients for filling until smooth. Pour filling into prepared pie crust. Take other piece of dough and roll out between the floured wax paper to an equal thickness as the crust before. Cut dough into 1/2″ strips. Create a lattice top over pie and seal edges with bottom sheet of dough hanging over the sides. Create a pie crust around the edge. Take remaining egg yolk and mix with 2 tbsp milk. Brush wash over the entire pie top. Bake at 350 degrees and cook for 30 minutes. Tent the crust with foil making sure not to let the foil get near the pie top. The filling will rise slightly over time so be careful. Continue cooking until a toothpick comes out clean from the center, about 45 mins-1 hour. Let pie cool and then refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
This entry was posted in Dessert, Food, Italian, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Twelve Days of Christmas: The Best Cheesecake

  1. Jueseppi B. says:

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

  2. terribetz says:

    Sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing! Happy Holidays!♥

  3. G’day! Looks delish Rufus! Now on my list too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  4. Delicious!!!!! Wishing you both a very Happy Christmas. Carina (on holiday again in Bangkok) 🙂

  5. A_Boleyn says:

    The technique for the crust may be tricky but the filling itself seems fairly simple. I imagine that it’s very tasty however as such recipes often are.

  6. Vanilla and OJ in the crust? Oh my. This looks beautiful and sounds delicious.

  7. Karen says:

    I haven’t had a good Italian cheesecake in a long time. Yours looks terrific, Greg.

  8. Sherry says:

    this looks challenging…maybe after the new year! lol…or….for new years…

  9. Rachel says:

    Mmmmm!! I make this but (gasp) add those mini-chocolate chips to it. Blasphemy I suppose but I like it 😉 Shhh…

  10. Michelle says:

    How interesting! My (Italian) mother-in-law makes ricotta pie, but never with a lattice top as far as I know. That looks really good. Merry Christmas, y’all.

  11. sallybr says:

    Pretty amazing! I don’t think I could pull this lattice on top, but beloved husband has the skill for it…

    Loved it!

  12. ChgoJohn says:

    Nana definitely knows best, Greg. This is one great cheesecake!

  13. Raymund says:

    That really looks great.
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to your family!

  14. Wow, I am in love with this cheesecake. I have never seen one with lattice on the top and I find that so interesting and stunning visually. Thanks for sharing your stories and recipes throughout the year. Happy Holidays to you and Katherine.

  15. Wow, this look gorgeous. Definitely Pinning this recipe!

  16. Pingback: The Ghosts of Christmas Past | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

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