I wish I could share the source of this recipe, but I can’t. It dates back to the days when I borrowed cookbooks instead of buying them. I would get stacks of cookbooks every week from our local library, zerox favorite recipes, glue them onto large index cards, and then go back for more. This was all for economic reasons, as there was a period of time while raising our daughters that the purchase of cookbooks would have been completely extravagant and irresponsible.
This recipe is definitely Italian in origin, and I’m wondering if it’s from a Lorenza de Medici cookbook. But whose ever it is, it’s one of the few desserts I’ve made on many an occasion when I need to give a small gift of food for one person, or perhaps for just a few of us getting together for a girly lunch.
It’s a small ricotta-based cheesecake, that is moist and full of flavor. I hope you like it, too!
Torta di Ricotta
1 pound ricotta cheese, whole-milk only
1/3 cup raisins
2 tablespoons brandy
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup pine nuts, but today I used pistachios
Softened butter for the pan
Drain the ricotta overnight in a cheesecloth-lined sieve.
Soak the raisins in the rum. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Add the zest of the orange and lemon to a small bowl, and add the vanilla to the same bowl.
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and salt until pale yellow.
Add the drained ricotta, salt, and citrus zests, and blend thoroughly. Add the pine nuts and raisins and rum, blending well.
Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold them into the cake batter.
Brush a 6″ springform pan with softened butter. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, and bake 30 to 35 minutes.
Use a tester in the middle to make sure the torta is ready to come out of the oven. It will look like this:
Cool for about half an hour, then turn onto a serving plate. It’s good warm or at room temperature.
The torta will slice very easily. I served mine with some macerated strawberries, which just means that I sprinkled some white sugar over sliced strawberries, tossed them gently, and let them sit for about 20 minutes or so.
But this torta di ricotta is such a delight, it doesn’t really need anything at all!
verdict: The pistachios were just as good as the pine nuts.