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Lemon Ricotta Cake with Italian Meringue

 



I love cakes that utilise dairy ingredients such as ricotta, yoghurt or sour cream to make a very moist and slightly fudgy style of cake. This cake has ricotta and Greek yoghurt to give that great texture, plus soaked in lemon syrup for added moistness as well as added zing.

You can top this cake in a lot of ways – drizzle with more lemon syrup, ice with buttercream or as I did, swathe with beautiful cloudy Italian meringue!

Ingredients

4 large free range eggs – approximately 200 – 220g in weight

200g caster sugar

Zest of 2 lemons

175g butter

175g ricotta

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

75g Greek Yoghurt

200g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bi carbonate of soda

Lemon syrup

Juice of remaining lemon left over from zesting

50g sugar

Italian Meringue

225g caster sugar

120 glucose syrup

90ml water

150g free-range egg whites

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 20cm springform tin with butter. Line the base with a circle of baking paper.

Whisk the eggs, sugar and lemon zest in an electric mixer, starting on low and gradually increasing speed to maximum. Whisk till mixture is pale coloured slightly increased in volume.

Melt the butter and cool to room temperature. Break up ricotta roughly with a fork to help in mixing it in.

Add the lemon juice, vanilla paste, ricotta, yoghurt and butter to the bowl and whisk on low speed until just amalgamated. You don’t want to mix too long and knock the air out.

Combine the plain flour, baking powder and bi carbonate of soda, stirring with a fork to mix. If you want to, you can sift these ingredients.

Very carefully fold the flour into the cake mixture in 3 or 4 lots. Again, be careful not to overmix as you will lose volume. The mixture will be slightly lumpy because of the ricotta, but don’t worry, that doesn’t affect the baked cake texture.

Carefully pour into the cake tin. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake come out clean. Check the cake after 30 minutes – you may need to cover the top with foil if it’s browning too quickly.

Meanwhile, make the lemon syrup by putting the lemon juice and sugar into a small saucepan  over a low heat and stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for a minute to reduce the syrup slightly.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, and leaving the cake in the tin, pierce all over the top with a skewer.

Pour the lemon syrup over the cake and then leave to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the spring form tin onto a plate.

To make the Italian meringue: first reserve 3 tablespoons of the caster sugar. Put the remaining sugar, glucose syrup and water into a small saucepan and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Have a cooking thermometer ready to test the temperature.  Without further stirring, cook over medium heat until the temperature reaches 117 degrees C on your thermometer.

Put the egg whites into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk  on a low speed. When the egg whites become loosened and slightly foamy, add the reserved 3 tablespoons of sugar, a tablespoon at a time.

Now you need to do this last action during the heating of the sugar syrup, which can be tricky. The idea is to pour the sugar syrup when it has reached 117 degrees C, onto the whisked egg whites and sugar. Pour the hot syrup down the side of the bowl, not onto the whisk.

Whisk on medium speed for several minutes until the mixture looks like meringue and is glossy and stands in peaks, and has cooled to room temperature. This will take at least 5 minutes – maybe more.

You can add any flavourings and colours at this point – stir in carefully by hand. I added the juice and seeds of a passionfruit for my cake, as passionfruit goes well with lemon.

To finish the cake, pile the thick luscious Italian meringue onto the top of the cake, using a palette knife.

Serve in thick slices, with more passionfruit, some lemon curd, whipped cream, ice cream, I could go on… this cake is a truly magnificent dessert cake however you like to serve it!

Baked Ricotta Mini Cakes

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These cakes are based on the Baked Passionfruit Ricotta Flan I cooked recently. The original was made by Dr Rosemary who is an excellent dessert and cake maker. This time I made muffin sized cakes. I mixed the ricotta quite roughly so that some of the curds stayed intact – unintentional – but I rather liked the texture this created.

Ingredients

200 g butter in small pieces

1 cup caster sugar

4 free range eggs, separated

350 g ricotta

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup fresh passionfruit pulp

1 cup self raising flour

Method

Pre-heat  oven to 150 degrees C. Grease a 12 hole muffin mold. Beat the butter and half the sugar with an electric mixer until well creamed and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time until combined.

Beat in the ricotta and vanilla extract, until smooth, or leave it a little rough as I did.

Stir in the pasionfruit pulp and sifted self raising flour.

In a clean bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the rest of the sugar until firm peaks form.

Gently fold the egg white mixture into the ricotta mixture, in 2 or more batches, trying not to lose the air in the egg whites.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin molds. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-30 minutes until the the cakes are firm to the touch. Cooking time will vary according to how much mixture you put into each muffin hole.

Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold. Serve with fresh fruit.

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Baked Passionfruit Ricotta Flan with Lemon Cream

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My oldest  friend recently asked me to dinner. And no, she’s not 105  – I have known her the longest of all my friends – since kindy!

It was one of those serendipitous meals where everything was wonderful – lovely flavours, beautifully cooked, everything hit the right note. The wild barramundi with preserved lemon, crisp potatoes and chilli mayonnaise was amazing.

However the piece de resistance was the dessert – Baked Passionfruit Ricotta Flan with Lemon Cream. What was unusual about this flan was that it was more “cakey” than “tarty” with a lovely texture half way between a curd and a cake crumb. The standout flavour was the passionfruit – this was an inspired ingredient in this cake.

The recipe comes from the magazine New Idea.

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My friend used her own recipe for lemon curd that she has been cooking for ever, handed down from her grandmother, a wonderful cook most fondly remembered by me.

Here it is:

Lemon Curd

Ingredients

1 free-range egg

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 oz butter (28-30 g)

1 tbls cornflour ( a heaped spoon if the lemon is a big one!)

Rind and juice of 1 lemon

Method

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over a low heat and stir until thickened. Cool before using.

 

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Serve the Baked Passionfruit Ricotta Flan with the lemon cream as topping and with ice cream!

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If you would like to see more of my friend’s recipes, (Dr Rosemary) check this post:

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/03/11/breakfast-with-the-doctors/

 

 

 

Jamie Oliver’s Ricotta Fritters with Tomato Sauce and Courgette (Zucchini) Salad

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This is another 15 Minutes Meals recipe from Jamie Oliver.

Really, really easy and you end up with a dish that looks interesting and is quite subtle in flavour. The lemon zest and the nutmeg in the fritters give them a slightly exotic flavour.

Ingredients

For the sauce

25g dried porcini mushrooms*

4 anchovy fillets

1 dried red chilli

2 cloves of garlic

700g passata

8 black olives

Half a bunch of fresh basil

For the fritters

1 large free-range egg

400g ricotta cheese

1/4 whole nutmeg, for grating

Zest of a lemon

40g Parmesan cheese

1 heaped tbsp plain flour

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

For the salad

400g green or yellow baby courgettes (zucchini)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 fresh red chilli

Half a bunch of fresh mint

Juice of a lemon

Method

Put the porcini into a mug and cover with boiling water. Crack the egg into a mixing bowl, add the ricotta, finely grate in the nutmeg, the lemon zest and Parmesan, add the flour, then beat together. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a frying pan, then use a tablespoon to spoon in 8 large dollops of the mixture, turning carefully when nice and golden.

Put the anchovies and 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a heavy based casserole, crumble in the dried chilli, and squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher. Finely chop and add the porcini with half their soaking water and the passata, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Squash and add the olives. Pick and reserve a few basil leaves, then chop the rest and add to the sauce.

Grate the courgettes (zucchini) in a food processor and tip into a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper, the juice of the zested lemon and the extra virgin olive oil.  Finely chop and add the chilli and the top leafy half of the mint, then toss together. Place the fritters on top of the sauce, then scatter over the reserved basil leaves, drizzle with balsamic and serve with lemon wedges.

* I omitted the porcini mushrooms as I don’t particularly like them. I thought the sauce was fine without them!

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Burnt Orange

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Fish pie before…

One of my current favourite eating places is Burnt Orange in Mosman NSW.

Situated in leafy surrounds in the bushland at the end of Middle Head Road Mosman, the restaurant overlooks Sydney Harbour. The beautiful sandstone building in Californian bungalow style is a tranquil haven to have breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea.

The food is fresh, tasty and visually appealing in presentation. The style is contemporary cuisine, with more than a passing nod to the Irish heritage of the owner. The Irish soda bread is a particular favourite of this quirky writer!

http://www.burntorange.com.au/

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Fish pie… after

IMG_2690IMG_2692Fish cake before and after

IMG_2546Berry Eton mess

IMG_2693Mandarin and coconut cream Eton mess

 

IMG_2695Banoffee pie

IMG_0089Rhubarb crumble

IMG_0092Ricotta cheesecake with poached quince

 

 

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