Saturday, March 15, 2008

Torta di Ricotta (Ricotta Cake)

I’ll always have Tuscany.

I’ll never forget my culinary travels through Italy in 2006. From Emilia-Romagna to Florence, the ingredients of the land defined what we cooked and ate.

At Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda, one of the rare wineries in Tuscany owned by a woman and staffed by women, I would walk in the vineyards – bursting with dark grapes – with the sun beating on my neck. In the evening we would work with the serious and practical Italian cook in the kitchen to prepare sumptuous, rustic dishes from simple, abundant ingredients – Panzanella (Bread Salad), Zuppa di Trequanda (Swiss Chard and Cabbage Soup with Cannelini Beans), and Schiacciata All’uva (Sweet Focaccia with Wine Grapes). Recipes were effortless to assemble, fed the body and the soul, and tasted exquisite with a glass of Brunello as we dined on the patio of the Osteria and the blazing sun set over the ancient Tuscan hills.

Torta di Ricotta, a feathery Ricotta Cake, always brings back those memories. The ingredients are sheer simplicity – mounds of ricotta cheese, fruity olive oil, lemon zest and brown sugar. It takes only moments to assemble and the creamy texture and sparkling citrus will have you dreaming of a late-summer evening of wine, good food and friends.

Torta di Ricotta (Source: The Silver Spoon)

Butter for the pan
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour; extra for dusting the pan
4 eggs
½ cup light brown sugar; extra for sprinkling
1 ¾ cups ricotta cheese
Grated zest of ½ lemon
5 tablespoons olive oil
¾ cup milk
1 tablespoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease deep tart pan with butter and dust with flour. Whisk eggs and brown sugar together until light and foamy. Stir in ricotta cheese, lemon zest, olive oil and milk. Shift flour and baking powder over egg mixture, mix well and pour into cake pan. Sprinkle with additional brown sugar. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, cool and turn out. Serves 6.

I’m submitting my Torta di Ricotta to the Festa Italiana event hosted by Marie of Proud Italian Cook and Maryann of Finding La Dolce Vita.

©2008 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

There's a wonderful bakery called Scialo Brothers in Providence that makes a cake like this. Perhaps it's too easy to buy one, because I've never tried to make it at home. Yours looks so light and delicious.

Maryann said...

Gorgeous, TW! Thanks for joining us at our festa italiana :)

Bradley said...

That is a great looking Ricotta Cake. I love the simple cool, clean taste of the cake.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Oh Yumm, Very high on my list of favorites!! Thank you so much for bringing this dish to our Festa Italiana, can't wait to try it!!

Veron said...

sounds delicious. Just the mention of the tuscan hills have me thinking golden sunset!

Rochelle R. said...

That looks and sounds delicious and easy to make. I could probably even make it :).

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I have two ricotta cake recipes I have been wanting to make. Now, it looks like I'll have three. This is superb TW. As if it's straight from a Tuscan village.

Cakespy said...

Oh THIS is a cheese cake (not to be confused with a cheesecake!). I love that it carries such lovely memories too--the best part about foods you've tried in faraway places I think.

Mansi Desai said...

Aah! that looks simply delicious!!:)

Lidian said...

That looks gorgeous - I am not a cheesecake fan but I would adore this, I know!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Lydia - if you keep tempting me, one of these days I will make a special trip to Providence!

Thanks, Maryann - so happy to join the party!

Bradley - The simple approach and taste is so much of the appeal.

Proud - I am sure you will love it - I think it goes really well with a special dessert wine, too!

Veron - it's the best place to be in the world!

Rochelle - my favorite part about this cake is that the only expertise I need is the ability to stir!

Susan - I'm sure you will love it - the brown sugar creates a sweet top with just a slight crunch.

Cakespy - I really like bringing the memories home and reliving them again and again.

Hi Mansai - I like this cake as lovely and light end to a meal.

Lidian - this is much more "cake" than "cheese cake."

Jerri said...

i've never ricotta cake, but it looks awesome!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Jerri - you must try it, or at least visit a good Italian bakery and ask for some!

Daniella said...

I may not always have Tuscany, (primarily since I haven't gotten to travel there yet) but I will definitely always keep your blog bookmarked so that I can make this cake again and again!

I have my maiden voyage cooling on my counter right now and it smells wonderful - thanks!

Boguscotch said...

Rather off putting that the recipe source is The Silver Spoon! - rather than some Italian mamma as conjured up by your musings above the recipe...