7 oz pkg cannoli shells
3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest
5 large eggs
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Confectioners sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch springform pan with parchment. Crush canolli shells in a food processor, add butter and 2 tablespoons sugar and continue to pulse until med-fine crumbs. Press crumbs firmly onto bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool.
Beat ricotta cheese, remaining sugar and flour in bowl of electric mixer on medium until well blended. Add heavy cream, vanilla and zest; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing just until blended after each addition. Pour over crust.
Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, then sprinkle top with the chocolate chips delicately, pressing chips in lightly. Continue to bake 10 more minutes or until center is almost set and edges are turning golden/light brown. Remove from oven and run knife around rim of pan to loosen edges of cake. Refrigerate 4 hours or more. Remove rim of cheesecake pan. Before serving sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Top with whipped cream if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator, serves 10.