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Tag: dessert

Lemon Ricotta Cake and Moscato

Lodali Moscato d’Asti

Whenever someone mentions Moscato, I frown. I don’t even try to hide it anymore. Why? Because it’s been bastardized. What is actually a light, floral subtle wine has been served any and everywhere and with everything. Winemakers are adding tons of residual sugar, giving it a syrupy taste and really losing the beauty of the grape.

But, not all Moscato is bad. In fact, if you pick a good one and you pair it correctly, it can be a pleasant experience. It’s a dessert wine and works extremely well with summer desserts. Think berries and lemon. It doesn’t work with chocolate.

In my attempt to find a good Moscato, I came across Lodali’s 2019 Moscato d’Asti. I was specifically looking for something a little bubbly and this was it. Having never tried it before, I was just hoping for a good experience and that it would go well with the Lemon Ricotta Cake I was making.

It was PERFECT! This wine retails for less than $20 – somewhere in the range of $12-$16. It was effervescent without being too bubbly. Just enough to create some fizz in the glass. Lodali delivered on the florals typical of a Moscato, but also came with a slight citrus that cut through the sweetness. It played really well with the richness of the cake.

I almost never buy ricotta cheese, but I was making stuffed shells and had some cheese left. This recipe is so simple and doesn’t use a ton of special ingredients. It’s a great one to bring to any summer gathering.

Lemon Ricotta Cake

The ingredients, except for the topping

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese

Topping

1 lb. fresh strawberries, diced or sliced

3 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided

1 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together sugar, butter and lemon zest until pale and fluffy.
  4. Mix in eggs one at a time (mixture will appear lumpy), blend in vanilla.
  5. Add in half of the flour mixture and mix just until combined, add ricotta and mix just until combined. 
  6. Add in last half of the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Gently fold batter to ensure ingredients are evenly incorporated. 
  7. Pour batter into prepared springform pan and spread into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven until cake is set (a toothpick can come out moist but no batter), about 45 – 50 minutes.
  8. Let cake cool 10 minutes then run a knife around edge to loosen any edges that may have stuck slightly, remove springform ring and continue to let cool.
  9. Once cool, slice and serve with macerated strawberries and whipped cream.

Brownie Pudding

Those who know me know I’m not really a fan of chocolate. I know, I know. A woman who doesn’t love chocolate – an oddity. But this brownie pudding is delightful! It’s not an easily whipped up recipe, but what I can promise is that it’s worth all the work you’ll put into it. I’d definitely save this for something special.

You’ll need:

2 sticks of unsalted butter (plus extra for buttering your baking dish)

4 large eggs at room temperature

2 cups of sugar

3/4 cup of GOOD cocoa powder

1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

1 tablespoon of your favorite liquor (optional)

Toasted nuts

What you’ll need to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter a 2-quart oval baking dish. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
  2. In an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes. You want it to be very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.
  3. When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds, liquor, and cocoa powder/flour mixture. Mix only to combine – DO NOT OVERMIX! Pour in your cooled butter and continue to mix until everything is combined.
  4. Pour everything into the oval dish and place it in a larger ban-marie (tub of water that will come halfway up the side of your brownie dish. Look, I told you this wasn’t easy. But do this because it’s worth it.) Bake for 1 hour, taking care not to overbake. The center will look undone.
  5. Get fancy and sprinkle toasted nuts on the top. I’m a fan of pecans, but you can use almonds or walnuts.

Mind-blowing, huh? So of course we have to pair something with this. Because this dessert is so decadent and so delicious, I’d go all out with the wine. Something bubbly. You can go with Champagne, if you’d like. But I’m going out on a limb here. Hear me out: Almond Sparkling Wine. I get mine from Trader Joe’s for a mere $6 a bottle. It’s crisp and effervescent, which we expect of anything bubbly. But this is different. This has an extra layer of “oooh la la” by having an unmistakable amaretto taste. It’s subtle, but you won’t miss it. This is my pick for the brownie pudding because, together, it feels so damn decadent! Treat yo self.

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