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Chocolate-Orange Cannoli Cheesecake

Romulo Yanes

Servings: 12

Cheesecake made with a combination of cream cheese and ricotta is creamy and light. David Beer, the pastry chef at my restaurant Nostrana, fashioned this one after a cannoli, adding candied orange and flecks of chocolate. Don’t worry if the cake has a couple of cracks—it will get eaten too quickly for anyone to notice.


For the crust

  • 3-3/4 oz. (3/4 cup) shelled salted pistachios
  • 1-1/8 oz. (1/4 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the filling

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 cups homemade ricotta, drained for 8 hours in the refrigerator and then brought to room temperature or good quality purchased ricotta, drained if wet
  • 1 Tbs. amaretto
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated fresh orange zest (from 1 medium orange)
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped candied orange peel
  • Candied orange slices for garnish

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 360
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 200
  • Fat (g): 22
  • Saturated Fat (g): 11
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Cholesterol (mg): 115
  • Sodium (mg): 460
  • Carbohydrates (g): 32
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 10


Make the crust

  • Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until finely chopped, about 20 one-second pulses. Add the flour and sugar, and pulse until the mixture is mealy. In a small bowl, whisk the melted butter, egg yolk, and vanilla. Add to the processor and pulse until the mixture holds together when pinched.
  • Press the mixture into the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Bake the crust until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 275°F.

Make the filling

  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and salt on medium speed until soft and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the ricotta and beat until the mixture is smooth and light, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the amaretto, orange zest, cornstarch, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat until combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Do not overbeat the mixture once the eggs have been added. By hand, fold in the chocolate and candied orange peel.
  • Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake at 275°F until the edges look set but the center 4 inches jiggle slightly when the pan is nudged, about 50 minutes. Turn the oven off, run a thin paring knife around the edge of the cheesecake, and let cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar for 1 hour. Transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature, about 3 hours.
  • Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours. Once cold, wrap the cake in plastic wrap if not serving right away.
  • To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the cheesecake again before removing the side of the pan. Garnish with the candied orange slices before serving. To slice, heat the knife under hot water between each cut and wipe it dry.

Make Ahead Tips

Once baked and completely chilled, the cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Remove the side of the pan and garnish just before serving.


Rate or Review

Reviews (13 reviews)

  • mfl | 11/15/2016

    This cheesecake is absolutely delicious and refreshing but the cooking time is way off. After the requisite 50 or so minutes at 275, the cheesecake was still almost completely liquid. I cooked it for almost another 45 minutes and cranked up the heat to 300. It was still jiggly in the middle but after resting and refrigeration, it stiffened up and was perfect.

  • angelcso | 04/01/2016

    I wish I had read previous reviews but for some weird reason they were unaccessible when I downloaded this recipe.First, it was delicious. Second, I had to cook it about 30 minutes longer (and it was still creamy) I used quality store bought ricotta but may drain it a little before making this again. Maybe an hour or two. Next, I served it with a chocolate ganache (very easy-boil some heavy cream, pour it over chopped chocolate and stir)and it wasnot only delicious but gorgeous. I added a teas. of amaretto to ganache. Bought fresh store bought orange rind from local fruit store. Would use navel oranges next time for zest, as juice orange skin is way too thin. Defintely will make this again. Maybe it will be 5 stars then.

  • user-2389603 | 12/04/2015

    I have made this twice. It is superior to a regular cream cheese cheese cake. The cooking time was 15 to 20 minutes longer than stated in the recipe. I used a good quality commercial ricotta cheese - it did not need to be drained. I could only find unsalted, raw pisachios. I used them, without toasting, and added a little salt to taste. The crust came out fine. Make a little more crust than called for in the recipe to build it up slightly higher on the sides. I used 72% cocao chocolate instead of the bittersweet.

  • Kaydarlin | 09/09/2015

    Lots of steps but worth it for the wow factor!! Made this for my garden club meeting and it was a big hit! Reading the previous reviews was very helpful, especially with the cooking time. I checked it at 55 minutes then every 5 minutes after. It was done at one hour 5 minutes. Depends on your oven. I made the ricotta ( i really enjoyed making this and was definitely worth it). I didn't go back to the instruction for ricotta and didn't bring it to room temp. It took a lot of mixing. Luckily it didn't affect the cheesecake!I agree with one of the reviews about adding more chocolates pieces. The orange slices did not dry out so maybe they should be more candied. I had to put the sanded sugar on at home then refrigerate it so the orange slices didn't look as pretty as the refrigeration affected the sugar. They tasted good though!I would definitely make this cheesecake again. It was delicious!

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