Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sweet Chattering Dessert

Doused and folded with toasted walnuts, the nuts spoke first. The ricotta softly chimed in and the pear - while never assertive - proclaimed its entrance. It remained puffy, not cloyingly sweet and a welcome addition to my table.

My characters have been chattering away - four false starts. I'd make it to page 10 and realize nothing was going on. I scolded my characters. Can't you say something substantial? Can't you initiate a conflict?

`
"You created us," they sullenly told me.
`
And so I did. They continued to chatter away about much ado about nothing. And now they sit chattering in a file folder until they decide to tell a story. Is it a wonder I spoke with this cake? This cake that was content to be a celebratory dessert or an afternoon snack. This Ricotta-Pear-Walnut Cake had all the answers. But he wasn't giving away his secrets. So I ate him.
`
Ricotta-Pear-Walnut Cake Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter - room temperature plus 1 tablespoon to grease the pan
  • 3/4 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6-8 ounces fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (explains why he stayed puffed-up)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2/3 cup toasted walnuts
  • 2 large ripe pears, peeled and thinly sliced.
`
I adapted it from Chocolate and Zucchini's Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen. Clotilde may think it's French but I am here to tell you - it's strictly Italian. The walnuts told me so. Whispers of fall, but afternoons of summer - fruit, cheese and nuts. Need I say more?



Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toast your nuts in a dry skillet for about 3 minutes.
  3. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  4. In a food processor combine butter and sugar and process till creamy.
  5. Add eggs one by one, pulsing in-between.
  6. Add ricotta and vanilla and process.
  7. In a medium bowl sift (I just mix) the flour, salt, baking powder and zest.
  8. Add to egg mixture. Mix until just combined. It will be thick. (I did this in a separate large bowl)
  9. Fold in half of the chopped walnuts.
  10. Pour into prepared pan.
  11. Arrange sliced pears on top in a circular pattern. Scatter the remaining walnuts, 1 tablespoon of sugar and bake for one hour (until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).
  12. Cool for ten-minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and unclasp the sides. Serve.
Will keep at room temperature. When cooled, wrap carefully and serve when ready. Will keep for two days. It's one of those puffy things that do not love refrigeration.
I passed some creme fraiche around. Somehow, I did not need to worry about refrigerating it - it disappeared. So did the creme fraiche. So did the chatter. And now I wait for new chatter, new characters and new stories. And I hope when a recipe speaks to me - it is filled with vegetables and soothing clear broth because I am gaining weight.

50 comments:

Pegasuslegend said...

just the ingredients along is a showstopper my goodness what a perfect dessert with espresso and sambucca , going to have to give this one a go at Thanksgiving they will all love it ( I know for sure I will!!) wonderful recipe~

Bridget said...

Wow! Looks delicious! I will definitely be making this sometime soon.

denise @ quickies on the dinner table said...

Love, love, love pears with walnuts! Seasonal eating is almost non-exitent over here but Claudia, this just shouts Autumn to me. Beautiful!!!

Monet said...

What a stunning fall dessert! You know how to win me over. Those ingredients couldn't be more tempting. And I love hearing you talk about your writing/characters. I can relate so much!

Megan said...

It's talking to me too!!!

Fresh Local and Best said...

This sounds like an absolutely magnificent dessert. I love it when flavors come forward (vs sugar) and is integrated with crunchy textures from nuts. This looks like a wonderful dessert.

3 hungry tummies said...

That looks absolutely to die for..I wish I am having a slice with my coffee now!

Jeannie said...

I love all the ingredients in this dessert, it's such a lovely one too! Bet the taste is awesome!

Vibey said...

That's the way to treat your characters (and cake): show them who's boss! Satisfying, too. Yum.

My Little Space said...

Oh... the whole thing disappeared without my approval! How's that happened? haha... I want a slice toooooo.... Hope you're enjoying your day, Claudia.
Kristy

Mister Meatball said...

Puffy Parisians who won't give up their secrets deserve to be eaten!

Foodessa said...

Never mind the walnuts...the Ricotta alone screams Italian. LOL.

Claudia...you call this wonderful dessert an afternoon snack? Boy, I'd love to see what an afternoon tea time dessert would look like at your home ;o)

This sweet cake is music to me because it could be just the ticket to get my Hubby re-introduced to pears ;o)

Ciao for now and have a fabulous weekend, Claudia

Mari said...

ohhh this must be sooo delcious. I could imagine the taste of this enchanting combination of pear,walnuts and ricotta.

5 Star Foodie said...

What an amazing cake with pears - I would so love to try a slice!

Megan said...

Delicious Claudia.... yummmm! I am home sick today.. and getting a chance to catch up on blog posts. Wow.. I wish I had a slice of that cake to go with my cup of tea! Megan

Barbara said...

How divine is that, Claudia? What a fabulous combination and I love the presentation...

Reeni said...

What a gorgeous cake Claudia! The ingredients scream Italian. And they scream at me to eat them! This would be gone in record time in my house too. I hope your characters perk up and get fiesty soon.

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

Incredible dessert you know how I love them :) and more with ricotta and walnuts awesome combination!

Cheers,

Gera

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Sounds magnificent Claudia. We love anything with walnuts.
Sam

girlichef said...

Oh, it's beautiful Claudia! I wish it would whisper a little something in my ear ;)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Wow, Claudia! This dessert really talks to me! :) I love the combination of ingredients, and its puffiness speaks of lightness and melt-in-the-mouth goodness! The next time I buy ricotta I'm saving some to make this cake!

Sophie said...

What a beautiful & stunning ricotta & apple pie tarte recipe for fall!

MMMMMMMMM,...lovely & divine food!

Kisses!!

fromBAtoParis said...

Of course you are right !!! You could think ricotta would be French?? It is deliciously Italian, with the walnuts and pears...I cannot add more...I want to eat it!!

Jen_from_NJ said...

I love your Italian cake! Pears, walnuts... mmmm...

Chow and Chatter said...

WOW amazing cake so want a slice YUM

Kim said...

"But he wasn't giving away his secrets. So I ate him." - Thank you for those words. They really made me laugh!

This is definitely one of those desserts that toys with both summer and fall. However, I know that I would be happy to eat it any day of the year!

I hope your characters find their voice!

baking.serendipity said...

Autumn in a cake sounds pretty perfect to me :)

myfrenchkitchen said...

He he...good for you...he doesn't bring his side...eat him!
Seriously though, it looks delicious and for some inexplicable reason, I'm crazy for dessert lately...! I baked some chocolate fondants last week at midnight? Now when shall I try this?
ronelle

May Ling Wu said...

Great use of my favorite fall foods.

Koci said...

What a cute post! Your uncooperative characters made me giggle and your cake makes me hungry. :D

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE said...

Dear Lord, look at that! I need a slice (or two) right now--rough day!

redkathy said...

Fabulous Claudia, just fabulous. And I am so happy you didn't stand for his not sharing, great bite!

Carol Egbert said...

This looks wonderful and it makes me long for the fresh ricotta from the market in Ortigia. I will have to make this cake when I get back to Sicily.

Thanks for a great post.

OysterCulture said...

I'm having a very one sided conversation with this recipe - its telling me "MAKE ME NOW!!" "WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?" I have heard and I'll be making soon.

Wanda..... said...

One Question, Claudia!

Do You Deliver?

Angie's Recipes said...

This looks and sounds scrumptious with walnuts and ricotta! A perfect afternoon coffee cake!

Antonietta said...

Love this post!
What a delicious looking cake- I needed a recipe for a dinner with an Italian guest on Tuesday night and this WILL be the dessert!
Thanks!

Spicie Foodie said...

The cake looks delicious and it's no surprise you had no leftovers. I really enjoyed reading your post, you have a great way with words.

Peggy said...

This cake sounds great! I've got some pears lying around so I may have to try this one out!

Chef Dennis said...

I am with you on this one, its definitely Italian, leave it to the walnuts to know for sure!! It does look and sound delicious, what a great way to use the pears that are coming into season!

whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said...

Definitely Italian! Do you make walnut pie by chance? I need to go find some pears!
-Gina-

maybelle's mom said...

i defintely can see how it disappeared so quickly.

Lynda said...

This is beautiful Claudia, and it's calling to me. I must make this one soon. Thanks!

We Are Not Martha said...

Wow, this is such a unique-looking and delicious dessert!! Love it!!! :) :)

Sues

Magic of Spice said...

Oh wow, does this ever look good :)

Proud Italian Cook said...

Look at this work of art, I love everything about this! This looks too good not to try, but unfortunately I need to be sipping broth with vegetables for a while!

Beth said...

"You created us," they sullenly told me.
Sometimes my characters speak like that too, although it's better than when they suddenly go mute.
Your cake looks wonderful!

Barbara GF said...

This looks like a winner, Claudia. A total combination of sublime.

I'm sure those characters just needed a rest for a spell and will fire up the conversation, soon. Maybe over a slice of this beauty?

Nirmala said...

Amazing! I love walnuts.

Joanne said...

Wonderful way to use the creamy Ricotta. I love baking cakes and this one is on my list. I just hope I can hold my self back and only eat just one piece.