This cheesecake is magical. It is completely decadent with all the familiar flavors of a cannoli. It's got the dense ricotta, a crunchy shell, little, melting morsels of chocolate, a hint of orange peel, and a topping of powdered sugar. It is also the perfect, not-too-sweet way to end a delicious dinner. I made this for a group of girlfriends last weekend when we had an Italian-food themed girls night. Mark was away for the weekend and it was the perfect time to celebrate with my lady pals. This cheesecake was a really fun and special way to end the meal. I think it would be great served with coffee or with generous helpings of champagne, as we served it! Make this for your next special occasion and I promise you will not be disappointed!
1 sleeve of graham crackers
1/3 cup slivered almonds
3 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. butter, melted
1 3/4 cups ricotta (whole mil)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 Tbs. orange zest
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
5 egg whites
powdered sugar (to garnish)
1. To make the crust, place graham crackers, almonds, salt and sugar into your food processor and pulse until the finely crumbled. Add the melted butter and pulse until it is distributed throughout.
2. Press the crust into a waiting spring form pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool while you make the cheesecake.
The best method for folding in egg whites requires two things - a spatula and (more importantly)confidence! You want to keep as much of the airiness to the mixture as possible, but you don't need the precision of a brain surgeon. Start by folding about 1/2 cup of the egg whites in first to lighten up the ricotta mixture. Then dump the rest of the white in, use your spatula to work from the bottom of the bowl to the top, and gently, fold in the egg whites until you have a light mixture. A hint about this is to work gently, but also deliberately - don't be timid - about 8-10 folding motions with your spatula should do the trick.
6. Fold in the chocolate chips and then spread the cheesecake mixture over the graham cracker crust.
9. Cool completely. Serve with powdered sugar and enjoy!
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