Arsip Tag: ricotta

blood orange, almond and ricotta cake – smitten kitchen

Here’s a thing I’ve been doing since the year began that’s made me very happy in the kitchen and it’s so simple, I completely expect you to roll your eyes at how un-revolutionary it is, but it goes like this: Find a recipe that sounds good to you and make it immediately. Don’t put it in the queue; don’t save it on that to-cook-one-day list, just dive in and dig in. So far, it’s been nothing but great; there was a giant egg bake, ugly cookies, green dinner pancakes, a giant cabbage casserole (recipe added!) we heaped on coarse mustard-slathered bread and a towering spaghetti frittata. And while all of these things have been delicious, what’s been the most fun about them is getting back to a kind of impulsivity that’s gotten pushed to the wayside in this hyper-scheduled so-called adult life. It’s also led to conversations I want more of in 2016, such as “well, if you’re around anyway, why don’t you stay for dinner and I’ll guinea pig a new recipe on you?”

what you'll need
slice as thin as you can

Which is how it happened that I spied a photo on the Instagram account of Elisabeth Prueitt of Tartine Bakery — someone I’ve long admired for both her baking talent and her refreshingly honest talk about being a working parent — last weekend that may not have normally been the kind of thing that got me running to the kitchen (a gluten-free cake, candied citrus rings, plus didn’t I just recently make a citrus-infused ricotta cake?) but why think too hard about it? And, lo, I’m so glad we didn’t.

orange base to become the top

whipped whites
zest into sugar
with clementine juice
with blood orange juice

The recipe hails from the wonderful River Cafe Cookbook series, specifically the Classic Italian volume, and in its original format uses a mix of polenta and almond flour, whipped egg whites, butter, ricotta and lemon to make a thick cake that’s nothing like the dry cornmeal cakes you might have had in the past. In fact, it’s so tender and rich, you might almost mistake it for a ricotta cheesecake (Prueitt attributes this to the lower baking temperature). But what really caught my eye was Prueitt innovations; she uses a half-volume of the original for a thinner, delicate cake that she caramelizes orange slices into the reversed cake. The first time we made it with tangerine zest and juice instead of lemon, and sliced almonds as a topping. The second time, I had nabbed some blood oranges and made it with the zest, juice and candied rings, and nothing but almond flour. Both were probably the best-received dessert I’ve made that didn’t involve chocolate, peanut butter or salted caramel and so pretty, they might be the literal opposite of this gray frigid morning of snow flurries.

blood orange almond and ricotta cake
blood orange almond and ricotta cake

Almond, Ricotta, and Blood Orange Cake
Adapted from Elisabeth Prueitt’s adaptation of The River Cafe’s Torta di Ricotta e Polenta

The River Cafe original calls for both the cornmeal and almond flour listed here. I’ve made it this way and I’ve also made it with all almond flour (i.e. an extra 1/3 cup), and both were wonderful; the latter makes it Passover-friendly. I haven’t made it with all cornmeal (for nut allergies), but suspect it wouldn’t be disastrous. If bittersweet lightly candied orange slices are not your thing, and they are not many people’s thing, you can either skip the whole brown sugar puddle upside-down thing (this was Prueitt’s innovation, not in the original; I find her method of making an upside-down cake with no caramel step utterly brilliant) or do as we did in our first round, just cover the sugar with toasted thin almond slices. If you are going to use orange slices, make sure you slice them paper-thin with your sharpest knife. We used blood oranges, other oranges will work too; the original recipe calls for lemon zest and juice. If using measuring cups, be sure to pack your almond flour. The difference between scooped and leveled almond flour and packed almond flour is significant.

A few other rearrangements: always zest before juicing, to avoid bad moods. Zest should always go straight into sugar, for maximum flavor release against the grit. Always whip egg whites before egg yolks, so you don’t have to wash your beaters in the middle of prep.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated sugar
2 blood oranges, or another orange of your choice
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (165 grams) ricotta
1/3 cup (45 grams) cornmeal
1 cup (135 grams) firm-packed almond flour or meal
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup apple, quince or apricot jam (optional, for glossy finish)

Heat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

Stir brown sugar and water together so they form a thick slurry. Pour into prepared cake pan and spread thin. Set aside.

Whip egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until they hold thick peaks. Set aside.

Place granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl. Finely zest both oranges over it.

Cut both oranges in half. Cut one of the halves into paper-thin slices and arrange slices over brown sugar base in cake pan. Juice other three halves (I had about 1/3 cup juice) and set juice aside.

Add butter to zest and granulated sugar in large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer (you can use same beaters you just did for egg whites) until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat to combine. Add juice and ricotta; mix until smooth. Sprinkle salt over batter, then add almond flour and cornmeal and mix until just combined. Gently fold in egg whites.

Scoop batter in large dollops over prepared cake pan base. Gently spread batter flat, trying not to disturb orange slices underneath. Bake in heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes [updated to warn that this took longer for many people, but remains accurate for my oven– better to check early than late], or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and then (my preference) for 5 more minutes. The final cake is so moist, almost damp, I found the extra baking time beneficial.

Cool cake in pan on rack for 5 minutes, and then run a knife around the side and invert onto a cake plate. If any orange slices don’t come out easily, just gently arrange them on the top of the cake. If desired, heat jam until loose and brush over cake top for a glossier finish. Let cool and cut into slices. This would be delicious served with an extra dollop of ricotta, creme fraiche or barely sweetened whipped cream. The cake keeps at room temperature, but we prefer it from the fridge.

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summer ricotta with grilled vegetables – smitten kitchen

Letter of recommendation: Make ricotta this summer. I was originally going to write “Ditch the burrata and make some ricotta this summer,” but neither wish to besmirch burrata nor do I plan to go tomato season without it. Should a burrata tree (it grows on trees, or must based on the frequency in which it appears) spontaneously appear on my terrace, I will be the happiest and most popular girl in all of the Lower East Side this summer. But since like most of us, I’m still buying it at stores where it’s quite expensive, spoils quickly, and is only sometimes spectacular, I’m here to make the argument that homemade ricotta is not only rich, delicious, and a cinch to make, but that in almost all of the places we’re serving burrata, ricotta* would be deliciously welcome too.

summer ricotta grilled vegetables-01summer ricotta grilled vegetables-02summer ricotta grilled vegetables-03summer ricotta grilled vegetables-04summer ricotta grilled vegetables-05summer ricotta grilled vegetables-06summer ricotta grilled vegetables-07summer ricotta grilled vegetables-08

Plus, it’s an incredible potuck addition or host gift, and you get to feel absolutely triumphant in pulling it off. As someone who does not have a, say, covetable summer pad (no pool or big yard for grilling), we spend a lot of time heading to other’s homes for gatherings which means always transporting something good to share, and because it’s, ahem, me, it’s homemade. Enter: ricotta. From a storebought tub, it’s unspectacular. Homemade? Luxurious. It’s blissful spread on toasted bread, drizzled with olive oil, and finished with flaky salt. You could even add a drizzle of honey or balsamic, if either are your thing. But with a few additions — fresh tomatoes or any vegetable in season, thinly sliced and grilled to heap on top, plus grilled bread — it’s even more special, the appetizer (or light lunch) platter of my summer dreams.

summer ricotta grilled vegetables-11
summer ricotta grilled vegetables-12

[* “But doesn’t burrata contain ricotta?” is a valid question and the answer is that it often does, but not when it’s very good. Burrata is a cow milk cheese from Apulia made with a thin outer layer of mozzarella which is filled with stracciatella. Stracciatella in this case are shreds of fresh mozzarella, usually leftover from mozzarella-making, soaked in cream. Good burrata, burrata filled with these creamy shreds, is otherworldly. But very often it’s filled with just ricotta, while delicious, is not nearly as special or worthy of the price tag and you do not always know what you’re getting until you open it. Thank you for coming to my Deb Talk.]



6 months ago: Checkerboard Cookies and Short Rib Onion Soup
1 year ago: Perfect, Forever Cornbread
2 years ago: Beach Bean Salad
3 year ago: Raspberry Crumble Tart Bars
4 years ago: Ice Cream Cake Roll
5 years ago: Strawberry Graham Icebox Cake and Broccoli Rubble Farro Salad
6 years ago: Almond-Rhubarb Picnic Bars
7 years ago: Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake, Fake Shack Burger, and Swirled Berry Yogurt Popsicles
8 years ago: Carrot Salad with Tahini and Crispy Chickpeas
9 years ago: Greek Salad with Lemon and Oregano and Two Classic Sangrias
10 years ago: Vidalia Onion Soup with Wild Rice and Tzatziki Potato Salad
11 years ago: Classic Cobb Salad, Lime Yogurt Cake with Blackberry Sauce and Blue Cheese Scallion Drop Biscuits
12 years ago: Asparagus, Lemon and Goat Cheese Pasta and Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
13 years ago: Martha’s Mac-and-Cheese, Crisp Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies
14 years ago: Cherry Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
15 years ago: Homemade Oreos and Cellophane Noodle and Roast Pork Salad

summer ricotta grilled vegetables-09

Summer Ricotta with Grilled Vegetables

As shown, this feeds four people for appetizers, but it’s easily doubled or tripled. This is not authentic ricotta, which isn’t made with milk or cream, but with the whey byproduct from cheesemaking. This is a slightly updated version of my 2011 Rich Homemade Ricotta; I use less cream these days but love the extra softness and luxury that even a smaller amount provides. Shown here are a mix of the vegetables that looked good at the market on Monday — some spring red onions, small summer squash, and fresh peas in their pods — but almost any vegetable you like will work grilled or roasted here.
  • 4 cups (910 grams) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • To Serve
  • 1 pound (455 grams) mixed summer vegetables, thinly sliced
  • 8 slices from a large sourdough loaf
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
Make the ricotta: Line a fine-mesh or other tiny-holed strainer with a layer or two of cheesecloth and set it over a large bowl with enough clearance that the bottom of the strainer won’t touch the bowl once it has 4 cups of liquid in it, or the cheese won’t drain. In a heavy medium-large saucepan, heat the milk, cream, and salt over medium-high heat until just below a simmer — it will look like it’s foaming and register just below 200°F. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in lemon juice. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then pour it through the cheesecloth. Drain for 10 minutes, or until it’s a nice soft ricotta consistency, and up to 10 minutes longer if needed. [The amount of time it takes to drain has to do with the size of your cheesecloth holes.] Transfer ricotta to a bowl to serve. Drizzle with olive oil, and finish with salt and pepper.

Grill the bread and vegetables: Brush or drizzle your vegetables and bread with olive oil. I grill my vegetables, even small ones, directly on my grill grates at fairly high heat but I know there are baskets that might lead to fewer falling in, I’m just stubborn. Grill the vegetables, bread, and lemon halves until they’re lightly charred underneath (depending on how robust your grill is, this could take 2 to 6 minutes), then flip the vegetables and bread and cook on the second side. Season with the vegetables with salt and pepper and transfer everything to a serving platter.

Serve: Right before serving, drizzle everything with additional olive oil, squeeze at least one lemon half over the vegetables (leave the second half on the platter), and season with additional salt and pepper. You could also drizzle some balsamic vinegar over, or keep it on the side.

Do ahead: Leftover ricotta is not a thing that exists, but it theoretically keeps for 3 days in the fridge.

A few items I’m using here: Reusable cheesecloth, which I even run through the washing machine, this glass pot, this little burner, and this oval platter.

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