Archive | September 21, 2011

Italian grain/ricotta cheese cake

ricotta cheese tart on antique oak table made from re-purposed apple bins

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 LBS. OF WHOLE MILK RICOTTA CHEESE

1 1/4 COOKED QUINOA GRAIN

5 EGGS PLUS ONE EGG YOLK

3/4 CUPS SUGAR

1 LEMON (GRATED)

1 ORANGE(GRATED)

1 TEASPOON OF VANILLA

for the pie tart shell

1 stick of butter

1 1/4 cups of  flour

1 egg yolk

3 tablespoon of ice water

2 tablespoons of sugar

This is a fantastic recipe handed down from Grandma (my ex-wifes grandma that is….I knew it was too complicated to explain…WHATEVER

 First start off with about 1/2 lb. of  quinoa grain..(easily found at any health food store) cook the grain…. by the way, you will need 1 1/4 cups cooked grain for this receipt, first bring to a boil 2 1/2 cups of water, then add the quinoa and lower the heat to a very low simmer, cover and let cook (about  20 minutes) meanwhile back at the ranch.. take 1 stick of butter (softened) and mix with 2 teaspoons of sugar ( hopefully you are using a stand mixer because it is a pain without it) beat until softened then add 1 1/4 cups of flour and 1 egg yolk (optional) but it makes the crust much sweeter, add a few tablespoons of water, I use as little as possible due to the fact that too much water makes for a tougher dough and we do not want that , do weNO   when the dough forms a ball and I mean as soon as it starts to come together ..STOP the MIXER, put some flour on you tabletop  and roll out the dough, place in a 9″ deep ceramic pie tart, fold over the edges as to create a free form top edge….PLEASE DO NOT do a Sandra Lee pie shell, half the pleasure of eating a delicious dessert is that it looks fantastic not like a store-bought machine-made mass-produced piece of ….(lets leave the profanities for another blog)

OK… where was I, ooh right then… place this tart in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes while the oven heats up.(350* degrees) cook the tart for about 20 minutes, then fill it with the Ricotta cheese batter…for those of you new to the art of baking tart shells, you MUST put a sheet of parchment paper or foil in the tart and fill with pie weights..ok, not every one has pie weights in their pantry so you can use uncooked rice, beans or lentils, whatever you have lying around the cupboards in order to fill the shell completely so the sides do not fold-in.

All right, while that’s baking, let’s get back to work, remember the grain??? it has been cooking for a while during which you were making the tart pastry, now that the grain is cooked, let’s make the Ricotta filling.

Let’s take the 1 1/2 lb. of whole milk ricotta and mix it with 5 eggs, 1/4 pint of heavy cream, 1 1/4 cups of the cooked grain, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, grate one lemon and one orange, (just use the gratings) discard the liquid and mix on a slow setting for about five minutes. Personally if you want to get fancy, beat the heavy cream first to form soft peaks then add the remaining ingredients…but that’s just good technique, it will still taste great either way..

take out the tart from the oven and hopefully you have not burnt it to a crisp..next take out the pie weights from the pastry shell and fill the tart all most up to the top with the batter and bake for about an hour @ 350* degrees. Place a cookie sheet under the tart in case it overflows….

HERE IS THE BIG QUESTION:::::When is it done??? not if it shakes when you move it, it could have some wiggle but not too much…mine you, it should not be as hard as rock either, the filling is done when a knife inserted comes out relatively clean, yes relatively clean not squeaky clean but pretty clean… all right enough with that, the cake will continue to set-up as it cools down.

this cheese cake is to die for when it is warm!! but you really do not get the full flavor until it is completely cooled preferably the next day or at least a few hours…but go ahead…and eat a slice and tomorrow when you had your fourth piece you will say…I think it is better today!!!!!! ENJOY

To make the presentation even better when serving, drizzle a little Agave around edge of the plate and shave very finely some of your favorite chocolate, of course add some powdered sugar..

DON”T FORGET....everything in moderation, then you’ll still be able to fit into that size 7 dress you love so much…

Organic vegetables from the Hudson Valley farm stands

RIGHT NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO LIVE IN THE HUDSON VALLEY….

That is, if you want the most unbelievable fresh fruits and vegetables of the season. Here are a few photos that I have taken of what is local and out there right NOW