Monday, November 12, 2012

Olive Oil and Ricotta Cake with Blueberry Marsala Coulis

I remember the first time I had olive oil cake, at the White Dog CafĂ© in Philly (back when it was owned by Judy Wicks), and thinking that it sounded absolutely awful, and that there was no possible way that olive oil could be in a dessert. The moment I bit into my piece, I immediately took back my previous sentiment. It was light, fluffy, and avoided being cloyingly sweet – a great dessert for people who aren’t big on desserts. I’ve always meant to make an olive oil cake myself, but had never gotten around to it. Recently, however, I picked up the new Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and saw this recipe for olive oil and ricotta cake and decided to give it a go.  The recipe for the cake itself is straight out of the book, the sauce is my own adaptation.

Olive Oil and Ricotta Cake:
1 Cup Ricotta/Famers Cheese (recipe follows)
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon lemon zest
2 large eggs
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Butter and Flour for the pan
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Blueberry Coulis:
1 heaped cup of blueberries
3 TBSP Sweet Marsala
1 TBSP Lemon Juice
2 TBSP Sugar
¼ cup water
Pinch of salt

Ricotta/Farmers Cheese
½ Gallon Milk (don’t use ultra-pasteurized – it won’t curdle correctly)
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt
3 TBSP white vinegar

Add the milk, cream, and salt to a large pot, and bring up to a near boil (200°F if you want to be exact about it) over medium-high heat. Add in the vinegar while stirring, until the liquid begins to curdle. Drop the heat to low and simmer for two additional minutes, stirring. Strain the mixture into a strainer lined with cheese cloth. Bundle up the cheese cloth and tie some twine around the cloth. Hang the cheese above your sink, or in the refrigerator suspended over a bowl for one hour. Don’t squeeze the cheese, just let gravity do its thing. The cheese can then be refrigerated for up to two days. Yields 2 cups.

Oh you know, just hanging out

For the Cake:
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Add ricotta, olive oil, sugar, and lemon zest into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking to combine. Sift the flour in top of the mixture, and add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Bring the mixture together with a spoon until just combined. Butter and flour a 9” springform pan (I used a 9.5” pie dish) and transfer the mixture into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

For the coulis:
Add everything into a small sauce pan, and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and use an immersion blender to liquefy, being careful not to splatter blueberry juice everywhere. Simmer for about 5 more minutes, until the liquid is reduced to the consistency you would like.

Awwwww sheeeeeit, it's Pacman


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