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Almond and Ricotta Cheese Cake

Almond and Ricotta Cheese Cake

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Serves 8 to 10.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from a contributed recipe.

In Italian this recipe is Torta di Ricotta e Mandorle and the person who contributed it is from Italy. The ingredients were in grams; so I made the conversions as best I could. This is an unusual cake for the USA, but it supposedly has been made in Italy for many years. It is light and delicate, and best eaten fresh. (See the Notes at the end.)

You will need a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan.

Ingredients:

100 grams (3½ ounces) golden raisins
120 milliliters (½ cup) dark rum (Myers’s)
100 grams (3½ ounces) whole almonds
3 large eggs, at room temperature
200 grams (7 ounces/1 cup) sugar (increase to 1½ cups for a sweeter cake)
300 grams (10½ ounces) ricotta cheese
100 grams (3½ ounces) whole butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest from about half the lemon
60 milliliters (¼ cup) buttermilk
300 grams (10½ ounces/2 cups + 2 tablespoons) flour, all-purpose or cake flour
4 grams (1 teaspoon) baking soda
100 grams (3½ ounces) sliced almonds
3 tablespoons powdered sugar for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Heat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Place the raisins in a bowl and add the rum. Set aside to soak. Arrange the almonds on a baking sheet and roast 10 minutes in the heated oven. Remove and set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.

While the almonds are baking, lightly grease (or spray) a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.

Place the cooled almonds in a food processor and pulse a few times to reduce to chunks of various sizes. (My Italian friend puts them in a ziplock bag and hammers them to a coarse texture.)

Beat the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl until frothy, about a minute. Add the ricotta cheese, melted butter, vanilla, lemon juice, zest, and buttermilk. Mix well. Drain the raisins, retaining the rum.

Combine the flour and baking soda in a large bowl and mix well with a whisk, or sift the two ingredients together to blend them. Add the wet mixture along with the chopped almonds and raisins to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Do not over-mix. The mixture should be wet without being a liquid. If too thick, add a few tablespoons of the retained rum to thin the batter to a moist, almost pourable, texture.

Transfer the batter into the prepared springform pan, leveling the top, and rap once or twice on the counter to settle the batter and remove bubbles. Then quickly garnish the top with sliced almonds.

Bake at 350°C (180°C) 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean (internal temperature around 200°F/93°C).

Let the cake sit 5 minutes, then remove from the springform pan and cool thoroughly. Remove and discard the parchment paper from the sides. Optional: Before serving, place powdered sugar in a small sifter and lightly dust the top of the cake with the sugar to decorate. Serve immediately.