Celebrating La Mia Mamma (With An Italian Ricotta Cheesecake)

It was our Italian-ified take on high tea, where tea was replaced by espresso and biscuits were replaced by Torta della Nonna.

I don’t know when it started but, when I lived in Italy, my afternoon ritual with my mom became indulging in a short espresso and a slice of Torta della Nonna — a simple  Tuscan dessert of vanilla custard and toasted nut tart. We had it on a such regular basis that we were a few forkfuls shy of an outright problem. With time, we kicked the habit, but we still order it whenever we see it on a menu.

You can imagine while I have great fondness for that dessert, I’ve always been a bigger fan of Italian cheesecake. Maybe it’s because when I first started baking, the ricotta cheesecake from my mom’s Italian cookbook was one of the first recipes I mastered. So, for this year’s Mother’s Day I came up with a dessert that would be the result if a ricotta cheesecake and a Torta della Nonna had a baby. Since it’s directly inspired by travels with my mother, I’ve named it Torta Della Mia Mamma, for, well, my mom. When I presented her with it today I was hesitant that she’d be put off by my spin on her favorite classic dessert, but, one bite in, she smiled and declared it the best dessert I’ve ever made. It goes without saying that she’s biased so I’ll leave you to judge for yourself.