Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Nigella strikes again
Friends of mine were going white-water rafting, I couldn't go, but I did go to a little get-together preceding it and I must say, after hearing all these stories about needing to duck-tape your pants into your shoes and hypothermia and being really really wet, but hopefully not drowning - I wasn't all that sad anymore that I couldn't go. The pre-rafting thing was dubbed a 5 o'clock tea with cake, so I decided to turn to Nigella in deciding what kind of cake to make. At first I was kind of thinking of a cheesecake, perhaps one that I hadn't tried before, but by the time I went to the store I was pretty sure I'd make the almond/marzipan cake. Once I was at the store and saw that they had some nice ricotta, I changed my mind. The only problem was that I remembered seeing a recipe for an Italian ricotta-based cheesecake in Da Queen's book, but I didn't remember what else went in there. I had eggs at home so I just ended up getting ricotta, almost turned the car around to go and get some lemon too, but I didn't and when I got home it turned out that, well, the cake really just consisted of ricotta and eggs :D
I kid you not. Well that and sugar.
So here's the recipe to Joe Dolce's Italian Cheesecake from Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess. I normally prefer the cheesy cheesecakes, not the grainy cottage-cheesy ones, but this one was pretty nice. No competition with the New York or London one for me, but a nice, springy cake that is just the thing for a 5 o'clock tea. I pretty much followed the recipe, except I diminished the quantities somewhat, as it seemed enormous otherwise, and as I had "only" bought 600g of ricotta I ended up adding 250 g of Philadelphia cream-cheese. Oh well. And I added some brandy (don't ask me why, just seemed like the thing to do and it added a nice fragrance).
Oh, and as a warning, this is a cake that kind of needs to be made the day before, it's really easy, just takes time and lot's of flipping (ahem).
Joe Dolce's Italian Cheesecake (Joe Dolce itaaliapärane juustukook ricottast):
9 large eggs
600 g ricotta
250 g Philadelphia cream cheese
200 g caster sugar + extra for sprinkling
1 tsp of vanilla extract
glug of brandy
For the strawberries:
500 g strawberries, cleaned and chopped
a glug of Balsamico
fresh mint leaves, chopped
1-2 tbsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Beat the eggs until well mixed.
In a separate bowl beat the ricotta and the Philadelphia until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, eggs, vanilla and the brandy and beat some more.
Pour into a spring-form tin and bake for 1 1/4 h. Do not open the oven before that. After that time check the cake, if the edges have turned golden and it's just resistant to touch, you're good.
Then leave it in the oven with the door open for an hour.
Now take it out and let it completely cool of on a rack.
Line two large lipless plates with paper towels. Loosen the sides of the cake with a spatula (although I must say the sides to mine were loose on their own) and then undo the clasp of the spring form tin. Turn the cake, upside down on one of the plates. Remove the tin base, cover the cake with the second paper-towel lined plate and flip it again.
Now put it in the fridge for at least 12 hours (although mine was there for a night and then some more) so that it sits on some paper towels and is covered by some as well. These will soak up the extra moisture.
An hour before you want to eat it, take it out, remove the towels from the top, line a plate with fresh ones and again turn the cake upside down on the plate. Cover with more kitchen towels. Finally, after an hour, remove the towels, flip it onto a serving plate, remove those towels that were stuck underneath and sprinkle with caster sugar.
I followed Nigella's advice and served it with some mint and Balsamico infused strawberries. Vanilla custard might have been nice as well as our hostess pointed out.