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Ricotta Pudding
(Italian Cheesecake)

1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped mixed dried fruit
1/4 cup rum
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 lbs whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 Cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp grated lemon rind (1 lemon)
1 whole egg
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine raisins and dried fruit in bowl, add rum and let stand 1
hour. Butter a 1-1/2 quart souffle dish and coat with bread crumbs,
shaking out excess. Beat 3 egg yolks and the whole egg in a large
bowl until frothy. Gradually mix in ricotta, beat until well
combined. Combine flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add
to ricotta mixture along with lemon rind and vanilla. Stir in
fruit-rum mixture, blending well. Beat egg whites in a small bowl
until soft peaks form. Gently fold whites into ricotta mixture.
Pour into prepared dish. Bake in 350 oven for 50 minutes, or until
center is set, top is lightly browned, and sides start to pull away
from the dish. Let stand in turned-off oven with door closed for
1 hour.

Invert pudding onto serving platter. Serve warm or chilled, garnished
with whipped cream and cinnamon sugar, if desired.

Note: I turn the "pudding" out onto the serving dish, wash the
souffle dish, and use it to cover the pudding in the refrigerator.
We like it best when made ahead, when the flavors blend nicely.
A bit like cassata alla Siciliana, but not so much sweat to make!


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