Aunt Beatrice's Pizza Dolce

Serves 8 to 10

This is the Italian family cheesecake served at Christmas, with the first round of espresso. Mom would always place it alone on the dining room table, saying that it had to be tasted first, before the richer desserts like cannoli and cream puffs were brought out. Apparently, after the passing on of my mother's eldest sister Margaret, my Aunt Beatrice's recipe for pizza dolce held the unanimously decided honor of "just right: not too dry, not too sweet."

15 eggs, beaten very well for about 15 minutes
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 ounce vanilla extract
3/4 ounce orange extract
1 ounce anise extract
3 pounds ricotta cheese, well drained
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat together all ingredients except ricotta cheese for about 20 minutes. Add ricotta and continue beating for another 20 minutes. Grease a medium size baking pan and add mixture. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes until golden brown on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Let cool and serve at either room temperature or from refrigerator.

Rosemarie Amendolia