I tried this new idea for a cake on Sunday for a dinner party with my parents, and it was a big success! I had seen a recipe for a pear cake using ricotta instead of butter on GialloZafferano.it, and since pears and almonds are a good combination I thought I’d enrich it with almonds. It came out great: not too sweet, fresh and fruity, relatively light but not dry. And very easy to make if you don’t mind peeling some pears.
For 8 generous slices from a 24 cm (9″) springform pan
500 grams (1.1 lbs) ripe but firm pears
250 grams (9 oz) ricotta
125 grams (4.5 oz) blanched almonds
125 grams (4.5 oz) flour
125 grams (4.5 oz) vanilla-scented sugar (obtained by storing vanilla beans in the sugar)
15 grams (1/2 oz) baking powder
1 lemon (preferably organic)
pinch of salt
1 tsp almond extract
Grate the zest of the lemon and set aside. Peel the pears, remove the core and cut into cubes. Sprinkle the cubes lightly with lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.
Toast the almonds for 10 minutes in the oven at 160C/320F. Grind them in the food processor until fine. Add flour, sugar, lemon zest, eggs, pinch of salt, ricotta, baking powder and almond extract. Process until smooth. (In a Magimix this works fine without getting lumps. If your food processor is not as strong, it is better to add ingredients one by one and sieve the flour before adding.)
Butter and flour the springform pan. Mix the pear cubes with the batter and pour into the pan. Smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake for 50-70 minutes at 180C/350F until a tester comes out clean. Cover the top with aluminum foil if the cake starts to turn too dark.
Let cool to room temperature before serving. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.
This is great with an Italian dessert wine that is not too sweet, especially Moscato d’Asti.