Cranberry Ricotta Tart in a Crunchy Nut Crust

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Submitted by Toast

So I once read that the way to a girl's heart is through cheesecake. I decided to test the hypothesis and give one to a girl I wanted to ask out. As an added bonus this is a cake I've wanted to post on here for ages, so here we go.

Cranberry Ricotta Tart is a cheesecakey tart with an awesome sweet nut crust. The texture is very different than a normal cheesecake, giving it a less rich taste, while having a superior flavour. The nuts add an earthy counterpoint to the sweetness of the cheese and balance the flavour. While the cranberry theme makes it an obvious holiday choice, I find the light texture makes for a great summer food as well.

This is a great cheesecake for people who find normal cheesecakes too filling.

Preheat to 350 Degrees



  • 3/4 Cup of Nuts (Your choice of a combination of Pecans, Almonds, Walnuts, Hazelnuts)
  • 3/4 cup of Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Melted Unsalted Butter (not margarine, if you're going to make dessert, make it right)
  • 1/2 Cup of Fruit Brandy (Apple, Apricot, Cherry all work well)
  • 2/3 Cup of Dried Cranberries (Blueberries can also be used, as can the flavoured craisins)
  • 2 Cups of Ricotta Cheese (Drained if necessary)
  • 1/2 Cup of White Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 TBSP of All Purpose Flour

Nut Crunch Crust


  • 3/4 Cup of Nuts
  • 3/4 Cup of Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Melted Unsalted Butter


  • Spreading the nuts on a baking sheet, lightly toast them until they're aromatic. Nuts hold their heat extremely well, so be careful handling them. This will fill your home with an incredibly earthy, yummy smell.


  • In a food processor chop the nuts, then add the brown sugar. Pulse this mixture until it's all crumbled together.

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  • Add the butter, then pulse again until it seems full incorporated and the nuts have magically turned into an awesome warm spread. The one time I used margarine for this recipe it went nuts and seeped for hours afterwards, so don't.


  • Dump all of it into an ungreased 9" springform cake pan (my blade doesn't come out easily, so it went in too.) Make sure you get everything out.


  • Using your fingers, spread it to fill the pan, pressing it down to form a crust and building a rim to hold the ricotta on the sides. This crust is quite filling, so try to hit a balance between thickness and sturdiness. I usually try to make mine just around a centimeter (1/4 to 1/3 inch) thick.


  • Set aside. If it's still absolutely dripping with butter, consider sponging a little up with a paper towel, but it's not needed. Unfortunately the amount of butter needed varies greatly on your particular nut combo. You can always try adding half the amount of butter and working up if you think your nut mixture looks particularly moist already.

Brandied Berries


Stay with me here...

  • 1/2 Cup of Fruit Brandy
  • 2/3 Cup of Dried Cranberries

Shocking no?


  • Slowly heat the brandy in a small saucepan until it's simmering. If it accidently catches fire, it will burn itself out quickly, so restart. Ignore the rum bottle in the ingredient photo btw, it's homemade apricot brandy that works very well for cooking.


  • Pour over berries and allow them to absorb the brandy for about 20 minutes before draining them (save the resulting liquid, it's delicious to drink or it can be added to the final stage)


Creamy Ricotta Filling


  • 2 Cups of Ricotta
  • 1/2 Cup of White Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour


  • If you've never worked with ricotta before, it's similiar to a sweet, moist small curd cottage cheese. As a result you'll often get a container that has too much cheese juice (or whey :science: ) This would result in far too runny of a tart, so place a bit of cheesecloth or paper towel in a collander and let some of the excess moisture bleed out. If your ricotta looks fairly dry, skip this step.
  • Beat your eggs gently then combine all of the ingredients in your trusty Kitchenaid stand mixer. If you do not own a stand mixer, I pity you and suggest you buy one, however it can be done by hand, it will just take longer. Make sure you remove as many lumps as you can, but this being ricotta you don't get the silky smooth texture of a regular cheesecake (nor do you want it)

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  • Pull out your crust and sprinkle most of the berries across the base, saving a few for garnish if you like. (Or like me make a double batch of berries and eat the leftovers all night)


  • Pour your cheese mixture carefully over the berries until the shell is full

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  • (Optional Step: I reserve a few spoonfulls of the cheese, mix it with the brandy mixture and a dash of red food colouring and then carefully create lines across the cake. Then using a toothpick swirl the colours together in whatever pattern strikes your fancy.)


  • Garnish with leftover cranberries if it pleases you.


  • Bake at 350 for approximately 45 minutes. In all honesty though, this is a fickle cake, and I check it every 5 minutes from the 25 minute mark onwards. Each batch of ricotta has a different consistency.
  • It's done when the crust looks crunchy and the ricotta has a mild golden sheen and seems reasonably firm.


  • Serve on it's own or with a cranberry or raspberry coulis. Eating shot to come later on...


  • Delicious, oh and the girl said yes...


  • Can be made with other dried berries
  • I use a 9" Springform cake pan but if you have the tart sized ones it makes great tarts, or larger cakes too if you alter the amounts.