June 14, 2024

Pistachio, pear and ricotta cake

Sparkling with hues of green reminiscent of emeralds, this little gem of a dessert is packed with flavours that will transport you to a glamorous world, where a little bit of luxury is just enough…

Pistachio, pear and ricotta cake
This cake may seem complicated, but I have broken it down into stages to make it easier and more efficient.

total ingredients
Makes 10-12, 4cm cakes.
*If you don’t have 4cm moulds, improvise with plastic tubes or rolled-up strong plastic sheets. Brush with almond oil for ease of removal.

6 eggs
380g caster sugar (200g for pistachio biscuit + 60g for syrup + 120g for ricotta)
275g pistachio, ground very finely
100g plain flour, sieved
1 orange, zest only, finely chopped
75g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
100ml pear juice
gel green colouring, optional
200g well-drained ricotta
60ml cream, lightly whipped
20g chocolate, chopped finely + extra for garnish
20g candied citron, chopped finely
2 very small ripe pears, sliced into 4cm rings
4 sheets gelatine
marzipan to make pears for garnish, optional
melted chocolate to make leaves, optional

for pistachio biscuit discs
Whip eggs with 200g sugar, for at least 5 minutes, until thick and pale. With a metal spoon, fold in the ground pistachio, the flour and grated zest. Incorporate melted and cooled butter. Pour mixture onto a lined Swiss baking tray approximately 20cm x 30cm. Bake in an oven preheated to 180C for approximately 15 minutes. Allow to cool. Cut into 12cm x 4cm rounds.

for ricotta filling
Mix ricotta and sugar and pass through a sieve until it is a very smooth cream. Fold in whipped cream, chocolate and citron.

for syrup and to poach pears
Bring to the boil the pear juice and gently poach pear slices for a minute or two. Turn off heat and remove pears. Tint liquid with a drop or two of green colour if it is not intense enough for your liking.

for pear jelly
Place gelatine in small bowl of water and leave to soak for 2 minutes. Add gelatine (which has been slightly squeezed to remove excess water) to poaching liquid in pan. Stir
until gelatine has completely dissolved. Cool in a Swiss tin until set. Ensure jelly is about 1/2cm thick. Once set, cut into 12cm x 4cm rounds. Leave in fridge until ready to assemble.

to assemble
Place one of the pistachio biscuit discs at bottom of each of the 4cm moulds. Next, cover with pear slices and spread half ricotta mixture on top. Smooth surface and top with a jelly disc. Add another layer of biscuit, pear, ricotta, then jelly. Keep in fridge until approximately one hour before serving. To decorate, use fresh pear slices and chocolate-coated leaves or make a tiny pear from marzipan, coloured with light green and yellow.


This article first appeared in the September 2023 issue of SALIFE magazine.

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