Ricotta Cheesecake with Red Wine Soaked Figs, Hazelnuts, and Olive Oil Crust
The first time I made a ricotta cheesecake I was so smitten with its simplicity. The filling is as basic as it gets, so you’re going to want to shell out for the good stuff her —anything that’s made fresh and locally is your best bet. The red wine-soaked figs are a bacchanalian luxury; along with toasted hazelnuts and a little drizzle of good olive oil—I’m transported to a Tuscan villa. If fresh figs aren’t available, use good quality dried figs and allow them to soak overnight.
OLIVE OIL CRUST
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 pounds fresh full-fat ricotta
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 eggs
RED WINE FIGS
- 2 cups dry red wine
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 pint figs stems removed and cut lengthwise in halves or quarters (I love Brown Turkey or Black Mission, but you can use whatever is available)
- ¼ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
- Olive oil
- Flaky salt
- ►CRUST: Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly spray a 9” springform pan with non-stick cooking spray and line bottom with parchment paper. Combine flour, powdered sugar, salt, and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Drizzle in olive oil and mix with a spatula until mixture is combined but crumbly. Gently press into prepared pan in an even layer, allowing it to come up the sides about one inch. Chill for 20 minutes. Bake for 30 minutes. (It will be a little golden brown in spots, but it won’t take on too much color.) Cool completely at room temperature.
- ►RICOTTA FILLING: Reduce oven to 300°. Combine ricotta, sugar, vanilla bean seeds, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Scrape down bowl of processor with a spatula. Crack eggs into a small bowl and add one at a time through feed tube, pulsing until mixture is just combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. The mixture should be smooth and fairly loose. Wrap bottom of the pan in foil and set it on a sheet pan with a rim. Pour filling evenly into crust, and place pan in oven. Pour about an inch of hot water into pan. Bake 1 hour and 40 minutes; cake should be set, yet slightly wobbly and a little brown on top. Cool at room temperature in pan before transferring to the refrigerator to chill for at least four hours or overnight.
- ►RED WINE FIGS: Combine red wine and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to help sugar dissolve. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by about one-third. Add figs to a heat-proof bowl and pour reduced syrup over them. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least an hour. Figs can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated overnight.
- ►TO SERVE: Release latch on springform pan and remove ring. Transfer cake to a serving platter, top with figs, hazelnuts and a drizzle of red wine syrup. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.