Ricotta cheesecake

Ricotta cheesecake

Torta di ricotta

Sharing Puglia
Alicia Taylor

On a recent trip to Lecce, Vivienne and I spent time at a pasticceria, where all kinds of sweet treats adorned the groaning display cabinets. Pastry chef Luca Capilungo shared not only his time, but his prized torta di ricotta recipe. The key to this recipe is to buy the freshest ricotta you can find and then make sure you drain it to remove any excess whey.



Quantity Ingredient
330g 00 flour
200g butter, cubed
220g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon or orange zest, finely grated


Quantity Ingredient
500g fresh ricotta
345g caster sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 orange, zest grated
100g diced candied fruit
60ml strega, (see note)
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
salt, to taste
icing sugar, for dusting


  1. For the pastry, place the sifted flour in a bowl and cut the butter into the flour, using a knife or pastry blender, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer to a food processor and add the remaining ingredients, pulsing after each addition. Stop pulsing as soon as the dough comes together. Roll the dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. After resting, roll half the pastry out on a floured work surface until it is about 28 cm in diameter and use it to line a greased 24 cm flan tin on the base and up the side. Roll the other half of the dough to fit the bottom of the tin. Chill the flan tin and the other disc of dough in the refrigerator until needed, or for at least 30 minutes.
  2. For the filling, bring the ricotta cheese to room temperature approximately 30 minutes before cooking. Mix the ricotta and caster sugar until smooth using a hand-held blender. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, while mixing, and stir in the orange zest, candied fruit, Strega, vanilla and salt to taste, incorporating well. The mixture should be creamy and lump-free.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove the flan tin with the pastry lining from the refrigerator. Spoon in the ricotta filling and cover with the remaining disc of pastry, sealing the edges well by pressing them firmly. Make a few slits in the lid of the pie using a sharp knife. Let this rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or longer if you are preparing it ahead of time. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, checking that the top does not burn. If the top is browning too fast, cover the tart lightly with some foil. Switch the oven off and place a wooden spoon in the oven door to keep it slightly ajar. Let the pie cool slowly in the oven. Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool completely.
  4. When ready to serve, dust the pie liberally with icing sugar.


  • Strega is a saffron-based Italian liqueur. You can substitute any other liqueur of your choice.
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