Crema di ricotta
Greetings from the snowy Milan, my dears!
I’ve relocated to a more Southern part of Europe for a few days in search for warmer temperatures to conduct pre-Christmas affairs… Sounds great doesn’t, but that’s just my wishful thinking, folks I’m here to work… or at least should be doing so…
Which brings me to the tip of the day: when travelling to Italy, do have the common sense to check the strike schedule (yes, there is such thing), so when you arrive on a very very very cold night to the train station, you would know that it is empty not because it is late, but rather because the trains are on strike…
And by cold folks I mean freezing, it feels like I’ve just travelled 1000 km north of the Netherlands, not south. But anyway, as I am in Italy, I believe and Italian dessert would be in order, don’t you think?
Ok, so it doesn’t come from Milan area, but rather from my favourite place – Sicily!
Crema di ricotta (ricotta cream) is the quintessential ingredient in many Sicilian desserts, like cassatelle (fried sweet ravioli), cassata (traditional Sicilian cake) and of course cannoli (are there any who do not know what it is?).
But it doesn’t end here, the cream itself is so good, that it can be eaten on it’s own, with a breakfast bun, or used as a filling for any sweet pastry, perfect for Christmas desserts!
There are many versions of crema di ricotta, some with candied fruit (used in cassata), some with chocolate, or just with a touch of good old vanilla. My twist on the cream is to use candied orange peel, as it’s easy to make, and quality candied fruit can be, a bit of a hassle to get.
Finally, for my vegan readers I’ve created a vegan version of this cream, based on cashews. Ieva, who tends to favour vegan desserts, gave approval stamp on this one.
Recipe for candied orange peel is here.
- 500g fresh ricotta (drained overnight)
- 2-5 tablespoons powder sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
- 1 candied orange peel, chopped
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scrapped
- 50 grams dark chocolate, shaved (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons milk (optional)
- 2 cups raw cashews soaked overnight in cold water
- orange syrup (liquid remaining after cooking orange peel)
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
- 1 orange peel, candied and chopped
- 50 grams chocolate shavings (optional)
- 1-3 tablespoons powder sugar
- The night before, place the ricotta in a sieve over a bowl, cover and leave in the fridge overnight, to drain ricotta of the excess liquid.
- Mix the drained ricotta with sugar (starting with 2 tablespoons), scraped vanilla seeds, chopped orange peel.
- Taste. Add more sugar if needed.
- If crema di ricotta is too thick, you can mix in a tablespoon (or few) of milk.
- Chocolate shavings are optional, but add a nice touch to the cream!
- For this dessert, cashews have to be soaked either overnight in cold water, or the fast track would be for 1 hour in hot water. Soaking in hot water however, drains some of their sweetness, so best not to hurry here.
- The night before, rinse the cashews well with running water, then place in a bowl and pour enough cold water to cover them completely. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
- Drain the cashews and rinse.
- In a blender, add cashews, orange syrup, lemon juice, scraped vanilla seeds and just enough water to barely cover the cashews (remember: if it’s too thick you can always add more water).
- Blend everything until you have a homogenous cream. Taste. Add lemon juice, powder sugar as needed. If the cream is too thick, add more water.
- Stir in candied orange peel and chocolate shavings (chips) if using. Enjoy!