Chestnut Ricotta Cheesecake

I am obsessed with chestnuts—I write about them in the Fall 2010 issue of Edible Cape Cod. Edible chestnuts do grow on Cape Cod, and if you can find them fresh, roast, peel and use them in the following recipe. I used dried chestnuts here. This Italian cheesecake will be a hit at any dinner party this winter.
By / Photography By John F. Carafoli | December 05, 2011


Makes 1 cake that serves 6 to 8.

Place the dried chestnuts in a large saucepan with plenty of water and bring to a boil. Cover, turn down heat and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and let cool. Combine the chestnuts, sugar, vanilla bean and rum in a 4-quart saucepan over high heat. Cook at a lively bubble for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until thick. Add a little water if the chestnuts threaten to scorch. The chestnuts should be almost whole. Cool the mixture and remove the vanilla bean. Crush the chestnuts with a wooden spoon until broken into bite-size pieces.

Use the tablespoon of butter to grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. (I like lining the bottom with buttered parchment paper.)

Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta with the eggs, sugar, vanilla and citron until well blended. Lace the chestnuts through the ricotta mixture, creating streaks like a marble cake. Do not over mix. Turn the batter into the springform pan, smoothing the top. Bake in the center of the oven 1 hour, then reduce the heat to 325° and bake another 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted about 2 inches from the edge comes out clean. The center of the cake will still be a little creamy. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool.

The suggested wine pairing for this unique dessert is Graham’s 10-Year Tawny Port. This aged port is a blend of older and younger wines, offering complexity along with fresh fruit flavors and vibrancy. The delicate, well-spiced flavors of apple tart and flan finish with notes of cream and vanilla. Try serving the port lightly chilled with the cheesecake. $37.99/ 350 ml.

I adapted the recipe from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

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  • 1 pound dried chestnuts
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • ½ cup good quality rum
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water, if needed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 pounds creamy-style ricotta cheese
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons candied citron, minced
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