Ricotta & Pear Cake

This delicious cake is a tradition from the Amalfi Coast. It is the perfect dessert for summer! When ever I eat a slice it brings me back to that magnificent coast line.
Ingredients:
For the Hazelnut sponge
350g of eggs (weight with shell)
200g caster Sugar
275g ground hazelnuts
100g plain flour (sieved)
Finely grated zest of 1 Lemon
75g melted butter

For the Syrup
300ml of water
200g caster sugar
3 tbsp Rum
3 tbsp pear brandy

Ricotta Cream
500g ricotta
125ml whipping cream – lightly whipped
225g caster sugar

Pear Filling
350g ripe William pears
100g caster sugar
1 1/2 tbsp pear brandy
10g sheet gelatine

Method:
Sponge Cakes
beat the eggs with the sugar until thick and pale, with a spoon, fold in the ground hazelnuts, the flour and the grated lemon zest and then incorporate the melted butter. Put the mixture into a large piping bag with a 1-2cm nozzle and in two shallow 26cm diameter cake tins (lined with a disk of baking parchment) pipe the outline for 2 x 26cm circles, then fill in the centre with ever decreasing circles of cake mixture. Bake in an oven preheated to 180°C for approx. 35minutes. Allow to cool

Make the ricotta filing by mixing the ricotta and the sugar together and then folding in the whipping cream.

To prepare the syrup boil the water and the sugar together. Add the rum and the pear brandy and boil for a minute or so then take of the heat but cover to keep warm

Next prepare the pear filling. Place the gelatine in a small bowl of water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. In the meantime peel and dice the pears. Place them in a frying pan with the sugar and cook for five minutes. Then add the pear brandy, the newly prepared syrup and the gelatine, slightly squeezed to remove excess water. Stir until gelatine has completely dissolved. Leave to cool

To assemble place one of the sponge disks at the bottom of a 26cm spring form cake tin and spread half the ricotta mixture on top. Next, cover with the pear mixture and finish with a layer of ricotta. Place the other sponge disk on top and press gently. Freeze cake and move from freezer to fridge approximately one hour before serving. Decorate with a dusting of icing sugar

This recipe is by well known pastry chef from the Amalfi Coast Salvatore del Riso if you are around Maiori be sure to visit his Pastry shop where you will find a delicious selection of cakes and gelato.

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