1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup icing sugar
2 475-mL tubs extra-smooth ricotta, (4 cups)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
6 eggs, separated
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 10 in (25 cm) springform pan.
In the container of a food processor, or by hand with a pastry blender, combine the flour, butter and icing sugar until it forms a uniform crumbly mixture. Press firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or just until lightly browned all over. Remove from oven.
Lower the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C).
In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the ricotta cheese for about 2 minutes or until fairly creamy. Gradually beat in 1 cup (250 mL) of the sugar, then add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add the flour, cornstarch and vanilla, then beat until fluffy and thoroughly combined — about 2 or 3 minutes — scraping down the sides once in a while.
In another large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until slightly foamy. Continue to beat, adding the remaining 1/2 cup (125 mL) sugar a spoonful at a time, until stiff but still glossy. Gently fold about a quarter of the egg whites into the ricotta mixture, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Take care not to deflate the mixture — better a few streaks of white than to over-mix. Sprinkle in the chocolate chips, fold with a spatula to mix, then pour into the prepared, crust-lined pan. Wrap the bottom of the pan in foil or place on a pizza pan to prevent leaks, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until puffed in the middle but still slightly jiggly when you shake the pan. Let cool completely, then refrigerate until cold.
To serve, run a knife around the edge of the springform pan to loosen, then carefully remove the upper pan. With the pan bottom still underneath, transfer the cake to a serving platter and dust thickly with icing sugar.
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