Ricotta Cheesecake with Biscotti Crust from Adventures in Slow Cooking

Have you ever thought about using your slow cooker to make dessert? Sarah DiGregorio shows us how in her new cookbook, Adventures in Slow Cooking, with a mind-blowingly delicious Ricotta Cheesecake with Biscotti Crust that’s perfect for the holiday season. We had the chance to watch Sarah make the recipe in person and saw how easy it is to make, using the slow cooker as a water bath that gently cooks the ricotta cheesecake mixture and then finishing the cheesecakes with dark chocolate and pistachios. Watch a video of her making the cheesecake here (Link TK).

Adventures in Slow Cooking by Sarah DiGregorio revamps the slow cooker for the modern home cook, with over 100 delicious recipes for maximizing the benefits of this favorite time-saving kitchen appliance and making it easier than ever to use. When it comes to the holiday season, this cookbook is a must have with it’s delicious recipes for party appetizers, desserts, drinks and more! The slow cooker may be a classic for weeknight dinners, but Sarah shows how this device can also shine when it comes to modern-day cooking! Adventures in Slow Cooking goes on sale today. Purchase a copy from your favorite retailer today.

Ricotta Cheesecake with Biscotti Crust

When I was growing up, every time we went into Boston we stopped at Mike’s Pastry in the North End for cannoli. In my memory, those cannoli—all crisp, shattering shell and slightly grainy ricotta filling—were the be-all and end-all of desserts. So fancy! I especially loved the mini–chocolate chips decorating the exposed cream on either end. That almondy and lemony cannoli filling inspired this cheesecake. The biscotti crust echoes the nutty flavor of the filling.

  • 4 ounces pistachio or almond biscotti
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 12 ounces (1 1/2 8-ounce blocks) full-fat cream cheese (not cream cheese spread), at room temperature
  • 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) whole milk ricotta, drained in a fine-mesh strainer, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 large lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Shelled unsalted pistachios and mini–chocolate chips, for topping
  1. Pour 4 cups water into a 6- to 8-quart oval slow cooker or a 4- to 8-quart round slow cooker. Choose an oven-safe baking dish that fits in your slow cooker and holds at least 6 cups, such as a 2-quart soufflé dish or a 81/2 × 41/2-inch loaf pan. (If you have a round slow cooker, you must use a round baking dish, not a loaf pan.) To make sure you have the right amount of water in the cooker, try putting the empty baking dish in the slow cooker. The water should come about halfway up the sides of the dish, and the water should not threaten to slop into the dish. Add or remove water to get it to the right level.
  2. Put the biscotti into a food processor and process until the cookies are in fine crumbs. Drizzle in the melted butter and pulse until the mixture looks like slightly wet sand. Press the biscotti mixture into the bottom of the baking dish or loaf pan, then put it in the fridge.
  3. Rinse out the food processor and put the cream cheese, ricotta, sugar, almond and vanilla extracts, lemon zest, and salt into it. Process until combined and very smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides at least once. Add the eggs and process just to fully combine, about 20 seconds, scraping down the sides once. (You don’t want to beat the eggs too much because then they will cause the cheesecake to act a little like a soufflé—rising and then falling in the middle.)
  4. Pour the filling into the prepared pan with the crust and set the pan in the slow cooker. Place a double layer of paper towels over the top of the cooker to soak up condensation, leaving some overhang so that the paper towels don’t fall onto the cheesecake, and then close the lid on top of the paper towels (see page 000 for a how-to). Cook on HIGH until the cake is set but still a little jiggly in the middle, about 2 hours 30 minutes. Turn off and uncover the cooker and let the cheesecake cool a little so that you can lift it out. Let it cool completely at room temperature, then cover it with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
  5. To remove the cheesecake from the baking dish or loaf pan, run a thin knife or spatula around the edges, then put a plate on top and flip the pan to invert the cheesecake onto the plate. Invert again onto another plate so the cake is right side up. Scatter pistachios and chocolate chips over the top and serve.
    Good to know: For an even nicer look, like the one in the photo, melt the chocolate chips in a microwave or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Put the chocolate into a small zip-top bag, seal the bag, snip a very small opening in one corner, and drizzle the melted chocolate in ribbons over the cake, then sprinkle on the pistachios.

Holds on warm for up to 30 minutes
Slow-cook time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Finish time: Cooling and 1 hour chilling
Equipment: 6- to 8-quart oval slow cooker or 4- to 8-quart round slow cooker and an oven-safe 2-quart baking or soufflé dish or 81/2 × 41/2-inch loaf pan that fits inside the cooker

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