Capri - Pear Ricotta Torte

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Sadly there was not quite enough room for this in the new book as the dessert chapter was getting rather large.  I first had this for breakfast can you believe, in Da Gelsomina in Anacapri in July last year along with a mulberry cheesecake.  I was blown away first of all, because it looked so beautiful and the filling of ricotta and delicately poached pears sandwiched between almond layers was a pretty original idea for a cake.  This is a slightly different version being gluten-free but I assure you there is no skipping on flavour.  I will reimburse the ingredients to anyone who does not find this a total dream of a cake!

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

For the base

190g unrefined caster sugar

5 eggs, 4 separated, 1 left whole

170g almond flour

1 tbsp (20g) rice flour

1/2 tsp almond extract

 

For the filling

250g ricotta cheese, drained of any water

100ml whipping cream

few gratings nutmeg

Seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod

Zest of half a lemon

70g unrefined caster sugar

 

For the pears

3 medium pears (approx 400g), peeled and cut into small cubes

3 tbsp cold water

few drops of lemon juice

1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out and skin

1 tbsp unrefined caster sugar

Unrefined icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and grease two 10inch cake tins lining them with baking parchment.

For the base, use an electric mixer to whip up the 4 egg whites until just light and fluffy and then slowly begin whipping in the sugar until all is mixed in.  In a separate bowl lightly beat together the 4 egg yolks, 1 whole egg, almond extract before adding in the almond flour and rice flour.  The mix will be a little dry but do not worry.  Use a spatula to beat in 1/4 of the whisked whites and try to get rid of any lumps.  Carefully add another 1/4 of the whites and gently fold into the batter and continue folding until all is well combined.  Divide between the two cake tins.  Spread the batter evenly inside the tins and place into the oven on separate levels for about 25 minutes or until they are light and springy to touch with a golden top.  Then remove form the oven and leave to cool completely on cooling racks.

While the cakes cool begin making the pears.  Add the cut pear cubes to a saucepan on a medium heat and mix in the rest of the ingredients.  Stir every two minutes and leave to simmer for about 3-4 minutes until the pears have just softened.  Then strain from liquid, discard the vanilla skin and leave to cool completely and keep in the fridge until needed.

Now for the ricotta cream.  In a mixer add all the ingredients for the filling and whip until it forms the consistency of whipped cream which takes about 2 minutes.  Gently fold in the chilled pear pieces and spoon onto one of the cake bases.  Spread the ricotta cream over the base evenly and then place the remaining cake on top.  Dust generously with icing sugar and serve.  This cake keeps well in the fridge for a day.

Nina ParkerComment