Fig and Ricotta Cake, GF 2.0

Figs, figs, figs! Enough to enjoy, not enough for making laborious batches of fig jam. Made one small batch and a smaller batch of fig mustard. Yeap, that’s a thing! Delish too. Anyway, I wanted to make another fig cake; a couple of weeks ago I made my beloved Turkish fig and yogurt cake which is super light and fluffy and I made an olive oil and honey fig cake the following week that was rather dense if delish and now this ricotta cake. This recipe is a big favorite of Ina Garten; you can find it on her barefoot contessa website. I reworked it a tiny bit to make it gluten free. It has a lovely crumb and a delicate flavor that is delightful. As much as I liked the other two I have recently made; this cake was perfect and is definitely one I would like to try and make with other fresh fruit, cherries? Apricots? Plums? All seem like great possibilities.

You can use small figs like I did or get larger yellow ones. Which tastes better is definitely a personal decision! Dried ones will not work. I think orange zest might be a delicious substitution for lemon zest. I think you can use any cup for cup gf flour as long as it is meant for direct substitution in recipes.

Don’t forget to let the eggs and all dairy items come to close to room temp; cold from the fridge is not good for gf baking. DO not underbake the cake; the center needs to look firm not squishy. Better to bake 5 more minutes than have a soggy center.

I think this cake tastes best warm but once it is cool it is still delish; you can warm slices briefly in the microwave before serving; I did this once and loved it.

brown turkey figs just picked

Fig and Ricotta Cake

Mixing up a storm of yumminess!
ready for figs!

Ingredients:

10 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

3 extra large eggs; I just picked the three largest in my dozen large eggs

1 cup whole milk ricotta; also at room temp.

2 Tbsp. sour cream; room temp.

1 Tsp. vanilla extract

½-1 Tsp. fresh grated lemon zest

1 ¼ cups Bob’s Red Mill One for One Gluten Free flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 Tsp. kosher salt

8 large or 12 medium figs, stems removed! Quarter if large, halve if smaller

1 Tbsp. coarse sugar or finishing sugar

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 8 inch removable bottom round cake pan. Tap out excess flour.

Beat butter and sugar in stand mixer at medium speed for 3 minutes, scrape down as needed. Until it is fluffy. Then add eggs one at a time, beating well between eggs.  Add ricotta, sour cream, vanilla, zest and mix until smooth. Mix dry ingredients in small bowl and add in thirds, mixing well between additions. Pour into prepared cake pan. Place figs, cut side up in pan; I started with a ring around the outside and worked my way inside pressing them in a bit. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake 40-48 minutes until a cake tester in center comes out clean. I did 46 minutes. The top should be browned but not really dark.  Cool on a rack for 15-20 minutes before removing side panel. Serve warm with whipped cream, crème fraiche or ice cream. I actually like it best plain so I can focus on the amazing flavors and texture. Enjoy!

Cheese Ravioli with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce

We love fresh pasta especially stuffed pasta. The usual choice is ravioli although I sometimes make cannelloni; those long tube-shaped ones that I stuff with this same filling and bake with tomato sauce and mott cheese.  This time I made puffy ravioli well stuffed with a simple ricotta and parmesan cheese filling. The sauce was my homemade wild mushroom and cream sauce. Links of country sausage was added as a protein as well as a hearty side of steamed homegrown Romano green beans. It was a great meal. We enjoyed an excellent Riesling from Boundary Breaks Vineyard in the Finger Lakes of New York State with this meal; used some in the sauce too.

I have decided to share with you today both the pasta recipe, it’s filling and the sauce I served. This pasta dough can be formed into wide ribbons like fettuccini if you prefer.  The pasta dough is based on one from my favorite cookbook; Annalise Robert’s Classic GF cookbook: “Gluten-Free Baking Classics”. In the back she has a few items that are not so much baking but are essential recipes including this one. I upped it by half.

The sauce is a simple cream sauce. You could use baby Bella mushrooms or even plain white mushrooms. Do not use canned ones; this is definitely a recipe where the shrooms shine and canned is just unacceptable.  I used whole cream but I suppose you could use something lighter like half and half or whole milk. Nope on the skim milk folks!

Ravioli with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Pasta:

1 ½ cups King Arthur basic flour blend

¾ tsp. xanthan gum

3 eggs

Put flour and gum in stand mixer bowl; blend. Add eggs. Blend 1-2 minutes until a fully formed and smooth dough is created. Wrap in plastic if you aren’t using it immediately.  Roll out in thirds, keeping rest wrapped so it doesn’t dry out. I had to hand roll this batch as my pasta machine is just acting up. I made a long thin band about 4 inches wide. Due to my machine I lost nearly a quarter of the dough; you should get 4 long bands. I ended up with 15 ravioli; if you use all the dough  you should get 20.

Cheese Filling:

5/.6 of the container of whole milk ricotta

1 large egg

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese  – Mix  the ingredients in a bowl.

I put out a bowl of water to dip my finger in. I dollop about a Tbsp. of filling every 4 inches. My favorite tool for ravioli making is a wheel that cuts zigzag points. It seals the edges perfectly. So I cut between the filing bloops and fold over the dough for each after wetting the edges with my fingertips making sure to press out from the filling to get the air out of the ravioli . Press and then recut all around except the fold using your knife or ravioli roller. You could cut the fourth edge if you like. Be sure  to have a sheet pan sprinkled liberally with flour ready to receive the ravs. Put them about an inch or two apart on the sheet. Cover with plastic wrap to keep them moist. 

Mushroom Sauce:

Ingredients

½-1 lb. wild or baby Bella mushrooms sliced medium wide. Not thick or thin

½ a large onion or a whole smaller one, diced small

2 garlic cloves minced

3 Tbsp butter

½ cup dry white wine; Riesling works well

½ cup veggie or chicken broth

1 big sprig or 2 smaller ones of fresh thyme

1 Tbsp. cornstarch and 2 Tbsp cold water

2/3 cup heavy cream

1-2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Heat butter in big frying pan, add mushrooms and let them cook a few minutes; once they have shrunk a bit in size add the onion.  Cook a few more minutes until mushrooms and onion are softened. Add garlic; cook another minute. Add wine, cook 2-3 minute, add broth, cream and thyme. Simmer 5-6 minutes, do not boil or the cream may curdle. Should get thicker by half. Add cornstarch slurry and mix well. Let cook 1-2 minutes to thicken sauce.  Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over pasta and enjoy!

Blueberry Cheese Tart

In search of a dessert that used up a crust I had in the freezer, and some blueberries in the fridge. Just needed the ricotta cheese. I added some lemon extract and zest to the filling because I love lemon and blueberry together.

I used a long rectangular pan to create mine but you can use a round one if that is what you have. I just enjoy the rectangular pan as I can cut it across into bars; easy to eat with fingers if you cut your bar in half to make two squares. Plus it looks awesome…. blueberry ricotta tart

 

This time I used a redi-made gf pie crust my sister had bought; it made two crusts and she only used one so we froze it; thawed it for this tart and it worked great; similar texture to my standard gf pie crust. Or use the cookie crust below. Yeap; that’s a bit of extra custard I baked with blueberries; it was really tasty even minus a crust.

Notes; you can leave out the lemon extract if you don’t want that flavor. I use King Arthur’s basic gf flour blend when I make a homemade crust, the one that is just flours, no xanthan in it. I used blueberries but I am sure you could make this with raspberries or a mixture of the two.

The ricotta was in a 15 ounce container so I have a little leftover. Might make a tiny bit of dip for crackers. Or maybe an egg custard for breakfast tomorrow…hmmm.

Ricotta Blueberry TartCookie crust:

1 cup brown rice blend

1 tsp. xanthan gum

¼ cup sugar

5 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 10 pieces or more

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1-2 tsp. water

Mix the dry ingredients in stand mixer bowl.  Add the butter, mix until fine like sand.  Add extract and water. Blend briefly.  Spray pan with cooking spray.  Sprinkle in the mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Press lightly in with your hands. DO not press too hard or it becomes way too firm.

 

Or, roll out that glutino crust and fit into your pan; trim off extra crust. Fill.

Filling:

12 ounces of ricotta cheese, whole milk is best but any will do.

3 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. lemon extract

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Pinch sea salt

1 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 tsp. lemon rind grated

Mix ricotta with eggs and rest of ingredients except fruit; can use same bowl with your stand mixer.  Carefully pour into the tart crust. Top with the berries. If you have too much liquid filling as I did: pour rest into a small low casserole and top with ¼  cup more of the berries; bake that small pan about 25-30 minutes. Bonus treat!

Bake tart 50 min at 375 degrees. It should be fairly firm in the center.  Let cool before slicing.  You can sprinkle it with powdered sugar if desired. I was so eager to try it I totally forgot to do this! Enjoy.

GF Flour blend (if you want to make it yourself)

2 cups brown rice flour

2/3 cup potato starch

1/3 cup tapioca starch

Blueberry Ricotta Tart

In search of a dessert that uses what I have on hand. Too cold to head out to the grocery store… So, I had a container of ricotta about to reach its expiration date, frozen blueberries, eggs, sugar and crust materials. Saw a tart recipe, adapted it slightly to make it gluten free and I wanted a touch of lemon. Used my favorite gf shortbread cookie crust for tarts. Added some lemon extract to the filling for that desired lemony flavor. I used to make a similar tart when I still ate gluten; this replication came out just perfect.

Boom! A great quick tart that is not too sweet and has a lighter texture due to the ricotta; my old tart was made with cream cheese; heavier. Plus, I didn’t have to buy any ingredients!

I used a long rectangular pan to create mine but you can use a round one if that is what you have. I just enjoy the rectangular pan as I can cut it across into bars; easy to eat with fingers if you cut your bar in half to make two squares. Plus it looks awesome…. blueberry ricotta tart

blueberry ricotta tart slice

Notes; you can leave out the lemon extract if you don’t want that flavor. I used King Arthur’s basic gf flour blend, the one that is just flours, no xanthan in it. I used blueberries but I am sure you could make this with raspberries or a mixture of the two.

I used my awesome new kitchen scale to weigh out the ricotta. I got it for Christmas from my sister, Elaine. Guessing that she noticed that my old scale was ancient and inefficient: from decades ago and so got me this futuristic one that can weigh in ounces or grams! I think it is gorgeous; bonus….scale.jpg

The ricotta was in a 15 ounce container so I have a little leftover. Might make a tiny bit of dip for crackers. Or maybe an egg custard for breakfast tomorrow…hmmm.
Ricotta Blueberry Tart

Cookie crust:

1 cup brown rice blend

1 tsp. xanthan gum

¼ cup sugar

5 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 10 pieces or more

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1-2 tsp. water

Mix the dry ingredients in stand mixer bowl.  Add the butter, mix until fine like sand.  Add extract and water. Blend briefly.  Spray pan with cooking spray.  Sprinkle in the mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Press lightly in with your hands. DO not press too hard or it becomes way too firm.

Filling:

12 ounces of ricotta cheese, whole milk is best

3 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. lemon extract

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Pinch sea salt

1 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, I used frozen

Mix ricotta with eggs and rest of ingredients except fruit; can use same bowl with your stand mixer.  Carefully pour into the tart crust. Top with the berries. If you have too much liquid filling as I did: pour rest into a small low casserole and top with ¼ of the berries; bake that small pan about 25-30 minutes. Bonus treat!

Bake tart 50 min at 375 degrees. It should be fairly firm in the center.  Let cool before slicing.  You can sprinkle it with powdered sugar if desired. I was so eager to try it I totally forgot to do this! Enjoy.

GF Flour blend (if you want to make it yourself)

2 cups brown rice flour

2/3 cup potato starch

1/3 cup tapioca starch

Apple Streusel Tart…Totally Terrific

Okay, this is my fall dessert Chopped (Food Network show)…. I have some ricotta cheese, some ripe apples, leftover crumb pie topping and a lemon.  What to make?? I couldn’t find a recipe that suited those ingredients so I made up this tart. I used the cookie crust that I have been using since I went GF as it is really tasty and the crumb recipe I always use for crumb pies.  I actually had the crumbs in the fridge so I didn’t have to make a batch of them.

The apples are from my own Jonagold tree, any baking apple will do, Rome or Golden Delicious are varieties that come to mind. I would avoid eating varieties such as Red Delicious or Honey Crisp as well as those that stay very firm like Granny Smith.

apple crumb tart slice

This tart is totally nummy good, the bottom is a crisp cookie crust covered with a thin layer of ricotta cheese custard under the caramelized apple slices and a topping full of crunchy almond goodness.  I am guessing you could leave out the nuts or sub in walnut or pecans cut into small chunks.  If you can’t eat oats you could certainly leave them out of the topping but I love the homey flavor and crunch they add.  The lemon is an under flavor but it does add a really nice hint of lemon to the mix.  I used some eggs I got from a friend who has her own chickens, the yolks were so orange they made the custard layer a lovely shade of gold.  Nice.

We had it plain but it is also fantastic with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I served it slightly warm which was lovely but you will enjoy eating it at room temperature for sure.

This tart has several steps in the construction of it but nothing too tricky.  And it looks like it came from a fancy French bakery, yet it is totally gluten free.  If you make this tart I promise you no one will even believe it is GF.  They will just beg for seconds!

Make your cookie crust and the crumb topping.  Then construct the apple filling and make the custard while your apples saute.  Have all the parts ready before you put it together or you will be frazzled and your tart might be soggy.  I did have to pick a few lemon pits out as I squeezed the juice right in with the apples.  You can be smart and use a hand juicer!

I have to say that this could be translated to a regular wheat all purpose flour based cookie crust of your choice with regular (wheat flour based) crumbs for the topping: for you wheat loving folks out there….if you want to enjoy this spectacular tart but don’t want to make it with gf ingredients.

Apple Caramel Tart

*Cookie crust

Place the following in a stand mixer bowl and combine

1 cup GF flour (recipe below)

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp xanthan gum

Add 5 tbsp cold butter, cut into 6-7 chunks.  Mix on low until the butter is just crumbs blended in.

Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 tbsp water.  Blend well. Pour into a ten inch tart pan that was sprayed with cooking spray.  Spread it up the sides ½ an inch.  Press gently in so it is a cohesive crust but do not press really hard or it will be like concrete when you finish baking it!

cookie crust

Filling

Peel and slice enough cooking apples to make 3 cups of apples. I used small ones, 5-6 but I am betting 3-4 good sized ones will suffice. If you have 3 1/2 cups even better!

Melt 1 tbsp butter in a 9 or 10 inch frying pan, add ¼ cup packed light brown sugar, 2 tbsp. water and the apples. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice.  Cook 8 to 10 minutes until slightly soft.  Sprinkle with ¼ tsp cinnamon. Allow to cool 5 minutes while you make the custard and the crumbs.

apples in pan softening

*Crumb topping

Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form.

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

You will use a heaping ½ cup of the crumbs. Put the rest in a tightly sealing glass container and store in the fridge for your next pie/tart. It should keep for several weeks.

Almond Streusel Topping: mix well

½ cup gf crumb topping

¼ cup slivered almonds

¼ cup old fashioned oats

Ricotta Custard

1/2 cup ricotta cheese, part skim

2 medium eggs

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp. half and half

Lemon zest from ½ a lemon, cut with a zester so they are thin short strips

¼ tsp. lemon extract

1-2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Just mix it well with a whisk in a small mixing bowl.  If you don’t have smaller eggs use 1 large egg and an egg yolk as a good substitute.  If you don’t like or have lemon extract just leave it out and it will still be awesome.

Assembly

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Gently pour the custard into the crust.  I tilted my pan a bit to get it to cover most of the bottom. It will not reach up the sides.  I then carefully spooned the caramelized apple slices over the custard. Do not press them into the ricotta cheese custard.  Try to spread them as evenly as possible so there are not huge gaps between apples.  I spooned every bit of the caramel sauce on top spreading it around too.

apple tart before crumbsSprinkle the tart with the streusel topping.

apple crumb tart unbaked Place in the oven and turn the heat down to 375 degrees.  Bake 35 minutes or until lightly browned and a testing straw comes out clean.

apple crumb tart  Cool at least 30 minutes.  Serve warm or cold.  Enjoy!

* Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

*from Annalise Robert’s cook book Gluten-Free Baking Classics

#apple tart