This Tuscan ricotta cake is a traditional Easter dessert. Whenever I make this cake, I think of my Aunt Tillie. Yes, I had an Aunt Tillie that is shortened from her birth name Metilde! Although, she was 1 year and 1 day older than my mother, they were as different as night and day.
Aunt Tillie was always happy. She loved to sing and dance, bake, and plant flowers and she always enjoyed a good joke, even if it’s a little off color, as my mother would say. They had the same mother and father so it always puzzled me as to how they could be so totally opposite. But it was the baking that I shared with my aunt that I enjoyed, and this is a recipe that reminds me of her because she would make this almost every Easter. It was given to me from a page in her handwritten cookbook. I know I’ve changed it a little because somehow, I think she put cognac or sherry in her recipe sometimes. She was very adventurous in her baking, but the end result was always delicious. So, here’s to my Aunt Tillie and today is her birthday, so I wanted to share this while I think of her.
- 3 lbs. whole milk ricotta – well drained
- 1 quart whole milk – do not use low fat
- ¾ cup Arborio rice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- unsalted butter and flour – to prepare pan
- confectioner’s sugar – for dusting
- Bring milk to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the rice, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and cook while stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the rice is very tender and has absorbed all the liquid. This takes about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat afterwards.
- Mix ¾ cup of sugar, cover it and let it cool but stir occasionally.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour an 8-inch springform pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the rice mixture, ricotta, whole eggs, egg yolks and the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Mix well but do not mash the rice. After which, pour it into the prepared pan.
- Bake until the top is golden brown and almost set in the middle. This takes about 65 – 75 minutes. At this point, if it is starting to get too brown, just cover it with foil and continue baking until it is set in the middle.
- Transfer the pan to a rack for it to cool. Cover with foil and refrigerate to cool completely.
- To serve, run a knife around the edge of the rim before loosening. Gently remove the rim and sprinkle with powdered sugar. You can now enjoy your Easter ricotta cake!
Note: Sometimes, I sprinkle cookie crumbs over the buttered pan shaking out the excess. Also, this can be served with a Raspberry Sauce on the side which is:
- 1 pint raspberries
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat until berries are soft while stirring constantly. Serve warm or room temperature.