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Cannoli Cheesecake

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Serves ten to twelve.

This creamy cheesecake has all the flavors of a classic Italian cannoli: a ricotta filling studded with chocolate chips and orange zest, garnished with a dusting of confectioners' sugar.

  • 8 oz. vanilla wafers, finely crushed (2 cups of crumbs)
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 7 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • Table salt
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbs. finely grated orange zest
  • 1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • Confectioners' sugar, for garnish

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the vanilla wafer crumbs and 3 Tbs. granulated sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moist and clump together slightly. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan (to press, use plastic wrap or a flat-bottom measuring cup). Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darkened, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, ricotta, flour, and a pinch of table salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese has no lumps. Add the 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.

Add the chocolate chips, orange zest, and vanilla, and beat until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended. (Don’t overbeat once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much and crack as it cools.) Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.

Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like Jell-O when nudged, 55 to 65 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges, and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. The cake can also be frozen at this point for up to 1 month (see make-ahead tip, below).

Unclasp and remove the side of the springform pan and run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate.
Garnish with confectioners' sugar sifted over the cake and serve immediately. To cut, run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.

Make Ahead Tips

To freeze, put the unmolded, cooled cake on a rimmed baking sheet in the freezer, uncovered, until the top is cold and firm; then wrap it in two layers of plastic and one layer of foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Photo: Thomas Allen

I made this cheesecake for Thanksgiving and here it is Christmas Eve and I am making it again! My son's favorite dessert is cannoli so this hit the literal sweet spot for him. The recipe is now in holiday rotation!

I have about fifty cheesecake recipes, and this is by far my favorite. I use a half cup of chocolate morsels and an 8 oz. container of Ricotta. I also add the zest of one orange. I don't understand the negative reviews. Perhaps they cooked the cheesecake too long. Great recipe.

This cheesecake was awful. The texture was off. I've made several cheesecakes before and I am not a novice. Something is wrong with this recipe. I had to throw it out.

Blech! Zero starz, son! I made this for Thanksgiving and ended up throwing the whole thing out. Two tbs. of orange zest is WAAAAAAY TOO MUCH!! It tasted like orange cheesecake. That in itself wouldn't be so bad, if the orange flavor was bright and fresh. Unfortunately this tasted like it had been sitting at the bottom of my grandma's sock drawer for a few years. And grandma doesn't have air conditioning. Also the cheesecake itself had a weird dry, almost crumbly texture. Not creamy at all. I've made many a cheesecake, and while I wouldn't call myself a expert, they all come out how I want them to, with the texture and flavor the way I intended. So I'm pretty sure this wasn't due to my mad cheesecake skillz.

WAY TO MUCH ORANGE ZEST... followed exact recipe still tasted very poor. I was making it for thanksgiving for my boyfriends family.. didn’t taste one bit like a canolli.. I bake all the time and was looking so forward to this and spent a good amount of money on the ingredients and was very disappointed.

This cheesecake was fantastic! I used the zest of a whole orange, which may have been a bit much. Also, do use the mini chocolate chips - I used standard sized chocolate chips, which were good, but not perfect. I divided the cheesecake into 16 slices, wrapped each slice, and froze them individually - it worked perfectly. Will definitely make again!

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