Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes, including resting time
This cheesecake is a nod to the southern European tradition of celebrating Hanukkah with cheese.
6 fresh bay leaves
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated zest of 2 oranges, divided
11/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup honey (orange blossom if possible)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the bay leaves in the center of the parchment in an 8-inch circular pattern.
In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla and half of the orange zest. Beat in the ricotta, then the flour. The mixture should form a thick batter. Scoop the batter onto the arranged bay leaves on the prepared baking sheet. Use a silicone spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the batter into an 8-inch circle over the bay leaves.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and puffy.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the honey and remaining orange zest. Heat for several minutes until thin and warmed.
When the cake is done baking, use a wooden skewer to poke holes in the top of the cheesecake. Drizzle a third of the warmed honey over the cake, letting it soak into the surface. Place a serving plate over the cake, then overturn so that the cake is on the plate. Use the skewer to poke holes in the surface again, then drizzle the rest of the honey over the cake.
Let the cheesecake rest for at least 30 minutes to allow the honey to soak in. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, then cut into 6 wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.
Per serving: 240 calories; 90 calories from fat (38 percent of total calories); 10 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 90 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 16 g sugar; 11 g protein; 75 mg sodium.
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