Monday, 13 August 2012

ROTW Week 31: Ricotta Cake with Blackberries

This recipe was made this week partially out of desperation.  A ton of things had gone wrong that day, and I wanted to make a solid effort to have at least one thing go right.  And lo:

Was this ever right!  Blackberries infused with red wine, black pepper, and thyme; beautifully rich ricotta cake with the right hint of sweetness and a touch of lemon.  Worked like a charm to cheer me up.

This is what you get when you search "blackberry ricotta" on Pinterest!

Dani Fischer's Ricotta Cheesecake

Text directly from Design Sponge and Dani Fischer. So when it says "I", its Dani, not me.

Ricotta Cheesecake with Berries and Sauce

For the berries and sauce
2 cartons of blackberries
2 cups of medium- to full-bodied red wine
1 1/2 cups of sugar (1 cup for macerating and 1/2 cup to help thicken the caramel)
couple sprigs of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon of black peppercorns

1. To macerate the berries, combine all the ingredients in a bowl (save for 1/2 cup of sugar), toss together with your hands to keep the delicate berries intact, cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Once macerated, carefully remove the blackberries with a spoon or your fingers, taking care to not smash them. Set aside.

3. Strain the wine liquid into a saucepan, making sure to remove all the peppercorns.

4. Add the thyme back into the pot with the 1/2 cup of sugar you set aside. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring in the extra sugar until it dissolves. Then turn down the heat so the mixture is just simmering.

5. Allow to simmer and thicken for 30 minutes or until the mixture is syrupy — it should begin to stick to the back of a metal spoon. Let cool.

For the cake
3/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
zest from 2 large lemons (Meyer if you can get them)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, separated, whites beaten until stiff peaks form
1 cup full-fat ricotta cheese (If you can get your hands on fresh ricotta, you will taste the difference.)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
powdered sugar for dusting
dash of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and butter an 8-inch springform pan.

2. Using a wooden spoon or a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Then add the ricotta, vanilla, lemon zest and egg yolks.

3. In a separate bowl, combine and mix the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and combine until well integrated. Then fold in the egg whites.

4. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the sides and top of the cake are beginning to turn golden brown. Unmold and let cool.

To assemble the cake

Use a strainer to dust the cake with powdered sugar. (I like to totally cover the top of the cake with a thin layer of sugar.) Then carefully arrange the blackberries on top of the cake. (I like to pile them in the center, leaving a rim of the powdered sugar showing.) Serve with the red wine sauce. (I like to let guests pour their own sauce, 
so it doesn’t soak into and stain the cake before serving.)

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