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 Café 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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