Tag Archives: ricotta

Sfinci: Sicilian doughnut filled with ricotta

Sfinci are fried dumplings of ricotta that Sicilians eat for breakfast and they make delicious snacks for summer or outdoor eating. You can flavour them with vanilla as they did in Noto and shake sugary  cinnamon over if that is your fancy.  I like mine dipped in honey! They are tastier and fresher than doughnuts but just as naughty…

Tucking into cafe style Sfinci in Noto

Tucking into cafe size Sfinci in Noto

Ingredients list: Makes about 8 to 10 Sfinci

  • 6 eggs
  • Sugar, 125 g
  • Ricotta, 500g
  • Flour, 250g
  • Baking powder, 4 Tbsp
  • Vanilla pod, to taste
  • Honey, 60 ml or 60 g of sugar mixed with 1 tsp of cinnamon

Beat the eggs with the sugar until it turns pale yellow.

Add the ricotta, followed by spoonfuls of flour, baking soda and scrapes of the vanilla pod. Make sure it is all blended in.

Use a cast iron pan to heat the oil bring it to a low frying temperature.

Drop big dollops of batter into the oil and leave it to brown on both sides. Keep the fire low so it does not burn too fast! Do check that they are moist inside but not too runny. My children turned their noses up at a runny batch and I had to fry them all over again… The things we do for love…

Serve at rooms temperature with a dip of sugared cinnamon and a dip of honey, to choose from. These treats are deliciously indulgent and very very addictive.

Sicilian doughnuts

Sicilian doughnuts

Details of a Sicilian window

Details of a Sicilian window

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Ricotta stuffed flowers in tempura

Flowers in parcels

Flowers in parcels

Eating flowers in summer is one of life’s simple luxuries.

I have got a courgette flowers “beignet” recipe on the blog already but this one is our Sicilian version and I love it for the sharp freshness the ricotta gives against the fried batter. Here I used the same batter recipe as before.

This light snack makes a perfect starter to a summer dinner party.

Ingredients list:

  • Per Courgette flower:
  • Ricotta, 1 Tbsp
  • Salt and pepper to flavour

Season the ricotta and drop a spoonful inside each courgette flower. Delicately close the petals around and dip this into a light batter. Shallow fry in a bit of rapeseed or sunflower oil. Once brown – it takes a few seconds- lay each parcel onto kitchen towel to drain the excess oil.

Serve warm as soon as they are done.

Ricotta filled flower

Ricotta filled flower

Sicilian lemon cake with coconut, ricotta and polenta

In Sicily, we ate cakes for breakfast! Sometime, our plate looked liked a poem in praise of gluttony: In such a poem all the synonymous of “cake” would have to be used! Eclairs, marbled cakes, profiteroles, biscuits, tart, millefeuille, brioche…

This recipe is for Judy who enjoys cake for breakfast – and anybody looking for an almond-free version of my Sicilian Lemon cake. Here, I have simply replaced the almond with ground coconut and the result is a much more textured cake, a bit similar to a carrot cake, but with the intensely citrussy flavour of the sicilian lemons…

I think it works even better than the almond version: Coconut and lemon being such a winning pairing… It almost makes you glad to be almond-intolerant!

A sicilian breakfast in NOTO

A sicilian breakfast in NOTO

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Delicious sandwiched with lemon cream

Ingredients list:

  • Butter, 50g
  • Sugar, 280g
  • Eggs, 6
  • Fine polenta, 150g
  • Ground coconut, 200g
  • Baking powder, 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Honey, 2 Tbsp
  • Zest of 5 lemons and juice of one
  • Ricotta, 300g

Pre-heat the oven to 160º.

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy and add the eggs one at a time.

Zest each lemon carefully – better to choose organic and unwaxed lemons if you can. Juice one of them and keep the others for a Granita de limone.

Fold all the remaining ingredients and pour into a lined and buttered cake pan.

If you have some lemon extract, you can add a few drops for a more intense lemon taste. Bake for just over an hour at 160 °. It is ready when the middle is still ever so slightly wobbly. The result is a dense and intense cake with a chewy texture. Irresistibly lemony… You can do a sandwich cake if you bake it in two sandwich tins and spread some lemon curd whipped with mascarpone in the middle! Try this for a posh party version!

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Serve cold with yogurt or on its own.

Almond, lemon, ricotta and polenta cake

If summer is not coming to us, we will conjure it up in our plates! We will force it into our dishes and how best to do that than to use the enchanted flavours of Sicilian lemons, unadulterated ground almond and exotic polenta in order to create a “spirit of summer” cake? Seasonal and gluten-free.

Baking is soulful and a proper pick-me-up when all else is a disappointment including the longing for sunshine. This cake will fill your kitchen with the scents of a lemon grove and the lingering taste of sunnier places… You can serve it as pudding or eat it for breakfast as they do in Sicily, or better even : have it with a cup of tea outdoors! Any CHANCE of a picnic this week-end?!

Ingredients list:

  • Butter, 50g
  • Sugar, 280g
  • Eggs, 6
  • Fine polenta, 150g
  • Ground almond, 200g
  • Baking powder, 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Honey, 2 Tbsp
  • Zest of 5 lemons and juice of one
  • Ricotta, 300g
All the scents of summer

All the scents of summer

IMG_3708Pre-heat the oven to 160.

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy and add the eggs one at a time.

Zest each lemon carefully – better to choose organic and unwaxed lemons if you can. Juice one of them and keep the others for a Granita de limone.

Fold all the remaining ingredients and pour into a lined and buttered cake pan.

If you have some lemon extract, you can add a few drops for a more intense lemon taste. Bake for just over an hour at 160 °. It is ready when the middle is still ever so slightly wobbly. The result is a dense and intense cake with a silky and melting texture. Irresistibly lemony…

Serve cold with yogurt and on its own.

This quantity will fill a dish 23 cm in diameter. The recipe is inspired by an australian site: www.goodfood.com.au With thanks!

>Apricots, ricotta and honey cheesecake

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Ricotta, apricots and honey cheesecake
Ingredients list:
Apricots 15 halves
Eggs 4
Lemons 1 (zest and juice)
Ricotta 1 large pot (250g)
Sugar 150g
Small glass of limoncello
Short pastry
Cornflour 1 tbsp

Prepare a pie dish with the pastry. Prick it all over with a spoon.
In Two large bowls, break the eggs, yolk and White separately. In the
yolk, mix the ricotta and sugar. In the white, add a pinch of salt and
start beating, slowly adding the lemon juice and limoncello . Add the
cornflour. Beat up until quite stiff.
Add the zest to the yolk mix and blend both compositions together .
Pour the result into the pastry case then decorate with the apricots
and a drizzle of honey. Sprinkle some pine nuts on top.
Bake at 160 degrees for 45 minutes.

We will have this for dinner on the beach, in the dunes next to the wild white lilies growing through the sand and the green juicy samphire that runs up from the marshes.
The sun will go down on the water in front and reflect in the lagoons behind us. And If we are lucky we’ll catch as many shooting stars as we did last night: 6 stars, 6 wishes…