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.