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Saturday, April 14, 2012

ricotta cakes

Use your imagination to restyle a traditional serving of a classic dish.

A thick slice of baked ricotta loaf makes an ideal presentation for lunch but for a change use a fluted pastry cutter. The loaf, scaled down, becomes an appealing starter instead.

Ingredients: (serves 6 sliced or 10 little cakes)

3 eggs
750g full fat ricotta
400g grated parmesan, freshly grated
6 springs lemon thyme, leaves picked
Extra virgin olive oil
Roast tomatoes halves or whole TINY cherry tomatoes
Basil oil
Black olives, pitted (tiny ones for cakes)


Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly whisk eggs in a large bowl and stir in ricotta. Mix in the parmesan, thyme and season well. Grease a loaf tin with olive oil and spoon in the mixture. Place the loaf tin in a large baking tray and pour in the water so it comes half way up the sides of the loaf tin. Bake approximately 45-50 mins, test with a skewer or until ricotta is firm and golden brown – a piece of foil may be required on top if it browns too quickly.

Remove from the water bath VERY CAREFULLY and allow to cool to room temperature. Invert onto a serving plate and refrigerate until cold.

To serve: cut thick slices from the loaf. Cut circles from the slices, using a fluted pastry cutter. Place the cakes onto individual plates, top with tiny confit tomatoes and tiny olives, a sprig of basil and a few drops of basil oil on the side.

Tomatoes & Olives:

Preheat the oven to 150C . Place a handful of tiny/or normal sized cherry tomatoes and a handful of olives onto an oven tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with sea salt, a teaspoon sugar and fine slices of garlic from one clove. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove and cool.

Basil Oil:

A quick way to flavour herb oil is to blanch a handful of fresh basil or other herbs, leaves only, then whizz them in an electric food chopper with a little oil. Strain the liquid into a jug and use as directed. Discard any remaining oil after use.

Note: Do not attempt to serve these little cakes hot. The loaf needs to be cold or very cool for sharp, clean cutting. A zap in the microwave might be a good idea if you prefer a little warmth.

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