When you walk hand in hand with someone, well, it is pretty special. You trust the other person, choose a common pace and follow a shared goal, a real or imaginary one, it doesn’t make a difference, because what matters is the journey which always has surprises in store for you around every corner, bend or unexpected life event.
Of all the hands that kept me safe, I have a vivid memory of those of my two grandfathers, Biagio and Remigio. They were very different, but had the same way of holding my hand: constant, reliable, reassuring. Being it in the park in San Gimignano or at the market in Colle, my little hand was well safe in their hands, and I followed them with confidence, hurrying to keep up the pace. Then you grow up and those hands change: sometimes you are the reassuring hand, others you are still the tiny one, held tight and protected.
Following a recipe is just like trusting someone else and let them hold your hand. There are authors which I completely trust for the tasteful recipes they gave me year after year, for the friendly tone with which they explain all the steps as if they were sitting there at the table with you, or for the innate affinity given by chance or common experiences.
Elizabeth David, Heidi Swanson, Molly Wizenberg, Tessa Kiros, Jamie Oliver, Pellegrino Artusi, Paolo Petroni and lately Ada Boni. I trust them, I know their voices and I let them hold my hand. Then, at some point of the walk, I free my hand, confident that the path is the right one, and I go further all by myself alone. That’s exactly what I did with this cake.
Born from the need to use a lot of fresh ricotta given me by the cheese farm where I usually make a visit with my cooking class guests, it was at the beginning the ricotta cake described by Ada Boni in The Talisman Italian Cookbook, with orange peel, candied orange and cinnamon.
I wanted it fresher and suitable for a summer Sunday, so I replaced cinnamon and orange with lemon zest and lemon thyme. Then, since it was not as big and plump as I expected, I topped it with just caramelized nectarines: a Tuscan inspired and gluten free cheesecake – since I replaced the flour with potato starch. This is the cake for your summer afternoons!
- 500 g of fresh sheep milk ricotta
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 heaping tablespoon of potato starch
- 4 tablespoons of raw cane sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 egg whites
- Grated zest of 2 organic lemons
- A few sprigs of lemon thyme
- 2 nectarines
- 2 tablespoons of raw cane sugar
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½ vanilla bean
- Sift the ricotta and mix it with a wooden spoon until smooth.
- Add the potato starch, raw cane sugar, egg yolks, grated lemon zest and lemon thyme leaves. Finally gently fold in the two whipped egg whites.
- Heat the oven to 180°C, butter a 24 round cake pan, dust with potato starch and scrape in the batter.
- Bake for about 50 minutes, until golden and firm. Let cool then unmould onto a serving dish.
- In the meantime, wash the peaches, slice them and cook them with lemon juice, sugar and vanilla for 5 minutes, then spoon them with their sugar onto the cake.
Let’s try not to lose the sight of each other!
Before leaving for a long weekend to take part to the Food Blogger Connect in London (YAY), some info per you! Summer is always a time of calm and peace for blogs, especially food blogs – well it’s not that everyone wants to turn the oven on with these temperatures, fully understandable – but I still find it an incredibly inspiring season, the fruit colours are inviting, the salads full of joy… to cut a long story short, I do not want to miss you! So here is how to keep the conversation going on!
- If you follow me on Twitter, FB page, Instagram and Pinterest I’m already quite present on your feed with breakfast pictures, Noa and silly daily adventures!
- With the retirement of Google Reader I activated a Bloglovin’ profile, so you can follow Juls’ Kitchen adding it to your favourite blogs to read.
- …then, the big flashing news! I have a newsletter! A real one, which I will send you every 15 days with a bunch of links and – listen listen – an exclusive recipe just for the subscribers. So hurry up and subscribe here if you don’t want to miss the rice and ricotta cake!