Friday, March 5, 2021


Ricotta cheesecakes are easy to make and they are so very delicious. This one has a graham cracker crust on the bottom and partially up the sides. I found a box of graham cracker crumbs in the supermarket. This saved me from crushing them in my food processor. It's always nice to save a step if you can.

I also posted the ingredients to change this cheesecake into an Almond-Amaretti Cheesecake. 

1½ cups graham cracker crumbs or about 20 graham crackers, finely crushed
½ cup melted unsalted butter
32 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
4 large eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ t sea salt
Grated zest of 1 large organic or carefully washed orange
2 T orange juice
1 t pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs with the butter.
Firmly press graham cracker crumbs into the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of a 7 to 8-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta and eggs.
Mix in the flour, sugar, salt, zest, juice, and vanilla extract.
Mix until completely combined.

Pour batter into pan and place on a baking sheet or pizza pan.
Place in center of the oven and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.
Turn oven off and let cheesecake sit in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes, until firm throughout.

Let cool on the counter, and then refrigerate for 2 hours to set.

Remove from springform pan to a cake plate and decorate with confectioners’ sugar or more grated orange zest, if desired.

Serves 6 to 8

Almond-Amaretti Cheesecake Crust
¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
10 amaretti cookies
4 whole graham crackers
Pinch of fine sea salt
4 T unsalted butter, melted

Place above ingredients into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade and process for a few seconds.


In place of the orange zest and juice, add the zest and juice of 1 lemon.
In place of the vanilla extract, add 1 t of pure almond extract.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021


Pizza Dough
¾ cup warm water
2 t active dry yeast
2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
½ t sea salt

Pour half of the warm water into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the yeast and let proof for 10 minutes, until creamy and bubbly.
Add 1 cup of the flour and using a spoon, mix together.  Add the rest of the warm water, flour and salt.  Hook up the bowl with the hook attachment and mix until dough forms a ball.
Adding a little more flour if needed.
Remove from bowl and form into a smooth ball. 
Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp clean tea towel and place ion a warm spot until dough doubles in size, about 2 hours.

Pizza Sauce
1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 (28-oz) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes (or the best peeled tomatoes you can find)
1 t sugar
1 t sea salt
½ t fine black pepper
2 t dried Italian seasoning or 1 t dried basil and 1 t dried oregano

In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. 
Add the garlic and cook a minute.
Add the crushed tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper, and herbs.
Simmer for 30 minutes.  Set aside to cool

¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 bag pepperoni
16 oz ball of fresh mozzarella, torn into small pieces
Olive oil
½ t red pepper flakes, optional

Lightly oil the center of a half sheet pan (13-by-18-inches).  
Put the pizza dough in the pan and gently stretch it to fit so the dough reaches the corners.
If the dough seems temperamental, let it rest 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Scatter half of the grated cheese over the dough.
Spread some of the Pizza Sauce over the dough, except for the edges.
Add the pepperoni, scatter on the mozzarella cheese, drizzle with some olive oil and red pepper flakes, if using.

Place pizza in center of oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Rotate pan and bake another 8 to 10 minutes.

Place on a cutting board and cut into squares.

12 servings