torte di ricotta e limone

24 Sept 2018

I first saw this Antonio Carluccio recipe in the May 2014 issue of Delicious Magazine. I've made the candied lemon slices so many times but until recently, I'd not made the tart they decorate. Last weekend I had some leftover ricotta cheese in the fridge; lemons in the fruit bowl and found some shortcrust pastry in the freezer so decided to make the ricotta and lemon tart. The original recipe called for mascarpone but as I already had cream cheese in the fridge I used what I had.

When I was in Paris in May I bought a 16cm flan tin, the perfect sized tin to make smaller versions of my favourite recipes. This was the first time I'd used the tin. I'd run out of almond meal so I couldn't make a fresh batch of pastry and the one from the freezer was of an indeterminate age, but it was probably at least 5 months old. I had some trouble rolling out the pastry, which was very crumbly. Once baked it was fine but next time I'd make a fresh batch of pastry.

The filling was so easy to make. You just whiz everything together in the food processor and pour it into the tin. Once baked, you need to refrigerate the tart for a few hours to let the filling set.

Although the candied lemon slices are a bit of a fiddle, I think they add a bit of extra citrus zing to the tart.

Here's the recipe for you which is adapted slightly from the original recipe to make a 16 cm tart. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Torte di Ricotta e Limone 
¼ cup icing sugar 
¼ cup almond meal
1⅓ cups plain flour
110 g (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
Cold water

125g fresh ricotta cheese
125g cream cheese (or mascarpone) at room temperature
⅓ cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp grated lemon rind
40mls lemon juice
125ml cream, whipped for the topping

Candied Lemon Slices - optional
1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
⅓ cup caster sugar
⅓ cup water

To make the pastry, combine all the dry ingredients in a food processor, and whiz for a few seconds until well combined and free of lumps. Add the cold butter and whiz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and sufficient cold water and whiz until a soft dough just starts to form around the blade. Remove the dough from the food processor and gather the pastry into a ball; flatten slightly before wrapping in plastic and placing in the fridge. Refrigerate the pastry for 30 minutes. You’ll only need about half of the pastry dough for this recipe. The pastry freezes well so just wrap the remaining pastry in plastic wrap and store in the freezer.

Grease a 16 cm flan tin and place it on an oven tray. Line the tin with pastry, trim the edges then refrigerate for a further 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 190°C. Cover the pastry with a sheet of baking paper and fill the shell with baking beads or rice and blind bake for 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove the paper and beans from the pastry case and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until golden brown and the base is dry. If any cracks occur in the pastry, you can patch the holes with some leftover pastry.

Make the filling while the pastry is baking. Place the cheeses in the food processor and process until smooth. Add ¼ cup caster sugar, the egg and yolk and the lemon rind and juice and process again. Taste the mixture for sweetness and add the remaining sugar if necessary. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C. Put the flan tin into the oven then carefully pour in the ricotta filling. Bake for about 30 minutes or until just set. The tart should still have a wobble in the centre when you jiggle the tin. It will continue to cook and firm up when it is out of the oven and cooling. When the tart has cooled, top the tart with the whipped cream and the candied lemon slices if using.

Candied lemon Slices
To make the candied lemon slices, put the water and sugar into a frying pan over a medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to turn golden brown. Slide in the lemon slices and cook for a few more minutes before turning over. Cook until well coated with the toffee. Carefully remove the lemon slices from the toffee and place on the baking paper to cool. Arrange a few of the slices over the top of the cream to serve. Any leftover lemon slices can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge between pieces of baking paper.

The end result is a very delicate tart which disappeared in record time and by the time lunch rolled around there were no leftovers to share. I'll definitely be making this tart again.

See you all again soon with some more baking from my kitchen. 

Bye for now, 



very berry jam

17 Sept 2018

I'm in the process of reworking my pannacotta lamington cake recipe and I need berry jam for the filling. Nothing tastes quite like home made jam so instead of racing to the shops to buy some jam, I decided to make a batch. Berries are cheap and plentiful at the moment so I decided to make a small batch of strawberry jam. When I went to the fruit shop on Saturday raspberries were on special so the strawberry jam I'd planned to make became a raspberry/strawberry concoction. For all of you wondering in light of the strawberry contamination crisis, I carefully checked the strawberries and cut them into quarters before using them.

I only needed one pot of jam but if you'd like to make more then just double or treble all the ingredients. 

Once the ingredients are measured and in the pot, jam is only 20 minutes away.

Here's the recipe for my very berry jam, which makes one 400 ml pot of jam.

Very Berry Jam
1 lemon
250g strawberries, washed, dried, hulled and quartered if large
250g raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 vanilla pod, halved
250g white sugar

Juice the lemon and reserve the skins. Combine the strawberries, raspberries, the lemon juice, the vanilla pod and sugar in a bowl and leave to macerate for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. 

The next day place a saucer in the freezer to test the jam's setting point. While the jam is cooking, prepare the jars. Wash the jars in hot soapy water and rinse. Place the jars and lids in a deep saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring water to the boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium and boil for 10 minutes. Line a baking tray with paper towel. Remove the jars using metal tongs and allow to air dry or dry with a clean paper towel. 

Place the fruit mixture plus the reserved lemon halves
 in a shallow saucepan (I used a wok) and cook over a medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil stirring occasionally for 20 minutes or until jam is reduced by one-quarter.

Cook until the jam has reached it’s setting point (105°C). To check when jam is set, remove the jam from the heat and place a spoonful of hot jam onto the chilled saucer. Return to the freezer for 1 minute. Run your finger through the jam to test if it wrinkles and jells. If it doesn't, return to the heat for a further 5 minutes then repeat the test.

Take the jam from the heat and discard the lemon halves. I like to leave the vanilla pod in the jam as it's large enough to avoid. Allow the jam to cool for a minute or 2 before spooning the hot jam evenly into the sterilized jar. Set the jam aside to cool completely before sealing, labelling and dating. Store the jam in a cool dark place, then once opened store in the fridge.

Despite being only 50% raspberry you can barely detect the strawberries at all in the jam so you'd never know. 

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


lemon poppyseed bars

10 Sept 2018

Last month when I made the sour cherry chocolate brownies I used an 8 inch square tin and the brownies came out quite flat. I realised it would have been better if I'd made them in a 7 inch tin, a tin that I didn't have in my cupboard. Thanks to Everten and the Mondo Pro 17.5cm square cake pan, that problem has been rectified so I decided to make a batch of lemon poppyseed bars in my new tin. 

Lemon bars are much loved by my workmates so by lunch time there were no leftovers. I didn't manage to snaffle a piece for myself either but I did trim the bars before serving and the trimmings were all for the cook.

I like my lemon bars lemony, so you'll need about 3 lemons when making this recipe.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 10 bars or 9 squares. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bars - makes 10 bars or 9 squares
120 gm unsalted butter
1/3 cup icing sugar
½ tsp lemon rind
1 cup plain flour
3 tsp poppy seeds

Grease and line the base and sides of a 7 inch (17.5 cm) square tin with baking paper.

In a food processor, combine the butter, icing sugar and grated lemon rind and process until smooth. Add the flour and process until a dough is formed, then add the poppy seeds. Whiz a few times until the poppy seeds are incorporated, then press into the tin. If you don't have a food processor you can make this by creaming the butter and sugar and lemon rind in a bowl before adding the remaining ingredients.

Bake at 180°C/350°F (conventional oven) for about 20 minutes or until the base is lightly browned. Put to one side while you make the topping.

¾ cup caster sugar
1½ tablespoons plain flour
1½ tsp grated lemon rind
3 eggs
⅓ cup of lemon juice
Icing sugar

Lower the oven temperature to 170°C/325°F (conventional oven).

In a bowl stir together the sugar, the flour and the grated lemon rind until combined. Add the eggs gradually and mix to a smooth paste. Finally stir in the lemon juice and mix until combined. Pour the mixture over the warm cooked base and return to the oven. Bake until cooked, about 20-30 minutes.

While still warm, sift with icing sugar. Allow to cool before cutting into squares or bars. You may need to recoat the bars with icing sugar just before serving.

I've been baking up a storm so I'll see you all again next week with some baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


cinnamon scrolls

3 Sept 2018

I grew up making cinnamon rolls with my Dad and when I came home from Brisbane last weekend, that's all I wanted to bake. I had everything I needed in the cupboard so set to work. Pretty soon the whole house was smelling of freshly baked cinnamon buns - just the best!

The yeast dough can be made the day before and stored in the fridge then brought to room temperature when needed. Once the dough is rolled out, the cinnamon filling is spread over the dough, the dough is then rolled and sliced and placed in a muffin tin and set aside in a warm place to rise. I made these on a very cold day and had to rest the tray on my heater protected by a towel to encourage the scrolls to rise.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 12 large scrolls. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. These are best served the day they're made. Otherwise as soon as they're cool, store in plastic bags, freeze and defrost when needed.

Cinnamon Scrolls
90g butter              
170 mls milk                              
2 tsp vanilla                         
400 gm plain flour  
½ tsp salt                                
40g caster sugar 
10g dried yeast   
1 egg, beaten

30g melted butter 
Granulated sugar

80 g of soft butter
100g granulated sugar
1 tsp golden syrup
4 tsp cinnamon
30 g almond meal

Syrup - optional
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 cinnamon quill

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat, add milk and vanilla and heat until lukewarm. Mix flour, salt, sugar and yeast in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Make a well in the centre, then, with motor running, pour milk mixture and beaten egg into the well and knead until smooth and shiny (2-3 minutes).  

Transfer the dough to a buttered bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (1 hour). While the dough is rising, make the filling. In a small bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, the syrup and the ground cinnamon. Mix in the almond meal to form a paste, ensuring there are no lumps in the mixture.

Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line each with a paper liner. Knock back the dough on a lightly floured surface then roll out to a 20cm x 35cm rectangle. Brush the edge of the dough with water before evenly spreading the filling over the dough to within a cm of the edge. Start rolling the dough tightly from the long edge then with a sharp knife or scissors cut crosswise into 12 even pieces. Place each roll into the prepared muffin tray then coat the buns with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle each bun with a little sugar. Cover with a tea towel or place inside a large plastic bag and stand in a warm place to prove (30 minutes – 1 hour).

Preheat the oven 180°C. Place the muffin pan on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the buns have risen and are well browned. While the scrolls are baking make the syrup, if using.

Bring sugar and water to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves. Add the cinnamon quill and bubble the syrup for a few minutes until the syrup thickens a little. Remove from heat and set aside to cool allowing the cinnamon quill to steep in the syrup. As soon as the scrolls leave the oven, drizzle 1-2 tbs of the syrup over each bun. Cool in the tray for 15 minutes to let the buns absorb the syrup and then cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

The scrolls came out of the oven sky-high and smelling so good. I had one straight away and have the rest tucked in the freezer for whenever a cinnamon scroll craving strikes.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen. 

Bye for now,

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