A winter cheesecake with dried fruit compote paired with a Sauternes makes for a festive finale to dinner.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. If using a nonstick 9-inch springform cake pan, butter the bottom and sides. (If NOT using a nonstick springform pan, butter bottom and sides then line bottom with parchment paper and butter parchment paper.)
With a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese and ricotta together until smooth. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and with a sharp knife, scrape the vanilla seeds out and add to cheese mixture.
With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar. Beat until smooth and light. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the dough down in between each egg. Add the orange zest and mix to combine.
Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan. Bake for 1 hour or until cheesecake is just set. Cheesecake should be a little jiggly. As soon as you remove the cheesecake from the oven, gently run a knife around the cake pan edge - this prevents the cheesecake from sticking to the sides which can result in the top cracking. Cool in pan and then refrigerate in the springform pan for at least 4 hours.
Serve the cheesecake with dried fruit compote and an almond biscotti