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?
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Toast your nuts in a dry skillet for about 3 minutes.
- Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
- In a food processor combine butter and sugar and process till creamy.
- Add eggs one by one, pulsing in-between.
- Add ricotta and vanilla and process.
- In a medium bowl sift (I just mix) the flour, salt, baking powder and zest.
- Add to egg mixture. Mix until just combined. It will be thick. (I did this in a separate large bowl)
- Fold in half of the chopped walnuts.
- Pour into prepared pan.
- 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).
- Cool for ten-minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and unclasp the sides. Serve.
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.