Monday 22 February 2010
I'm going through an Elizabeth David phase. Such a pleasure - the writing, so authoritative and splendidly pithy, and the images she evokes are of a world within memory, but which in reality has now pretty much gone. Sometimes, the passage of time means one has to 'translate' certain parts of her recipes to fit today's reality - last week, for instance, I made her excellent Duck Terrine, but had to substitute for pig's-foot-aspic a combination of gelatine and duck broth (I can't remember the last time I even saw pig's trotters for sale - in the past, I used to get them at the little butchers at the southern end of Berwick Street, but that went the way of all flesh - literally - decades ago and was replaced by an Ann Summers, I think). Equally, I suspect ED's ducks were of a more mature variety than those we get today (which, in fact, are generally really 'duckling' rather than 'duck'), and so her terrine would have had a significantly gamier flavour than the same recipe produces now.
Anyway...Ricotta Pudding, or as ED calls it 'Budino Toscano'. I first came across a version of it in a recipe by Anne Willan for a ricotta cheesecake, where the mixture given here was baked inside a deep pastry shell, with a crisp and delicious lattice top - I can recall turning out dozens of the things for buffets when I was cooking for my living. With or without pastry is equally delicious - the pastry version is a more elegant presentation, I suppose, but the pastry-less one is lighter, and even simpler to produce. All-told, about five minutes to make the mixture, and then a further thirty minutes in the oven. Simplicity itself.
Ingredients: 12 oz ricotta; 4 egg yolks; 2 oz ground almonds; 4 oz sugar (or equivalent volume Splenda); a handful of mixed dried fruit; 2 oz finely-diced candied orange peel; 1 tsp vanilla essence (or, if you can get it, 'Fiori di Sicilia', which immediately lifts the flavours to a whole different level); finely-grated zest of a lemon.
1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
2. In a bowl, beat together the ricotta, yolks, ground almonds, vanilla, and sugar. Fold into this mixture the dried fruit, peel, and zest.
3. Turn into a greased 8" baking tin. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, until the top has started to colour and the inside shows done when a knife tip is inserted.
4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for ten minutes or so before inverting onto a plate. Cut into slices to serve.