- 6 ounces Nilla wafers (2 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh ricotta cheese
- 1/2 pound cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Strawberry-rhubarb jam or compote, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with foil.
- In a food processor, pulse the Nilla wafers until finely ground. Add the confectioners’ sugar, salt and cinnamon and pulse to combine. Add the 4 tablespoons of melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press the crumbs onto the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer, packing them tightly. Bake for about 10 minutes, until toasted and fragrant. Let cool.
- Meanwhile, in a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the ricotta with the cream cheese and granulated sugar at medium speed until smooth. Beat in the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla, then beat in the eggs until smooth, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl.
- Set the springform pan in a roasting pan and pour in the ricotta filling. Place the roasting pan in the center of the oven and pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake for about 1 1/2 hours, until lightly golden on top and just set. Let the cheesecake stand in the water bath for 10 minutes; remove it and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 4 hours.
- Run a thin knife blade around the edge of the cheesecake. Remove the foil and the pan ring and carefully transfer the cheesecake to a platter. Cut in wedges with a wet knife and serve with strawberry-rhubarb jam or compote.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.