There are times I wish I didn't like cakes, cookies and other desserts -- especially when I'm shopping for jeans or a bathing suit. There are times I wish I could say "no" and finish the meal with a piece of fruit -- basta. But then there are times when a recipe like this comes along and I cave in to my predilection. I mean come on, look at that luscious concoction. Could you resist a cake like that -- redolent of hazelnuts, and filled with creamy ricotta and poached pears? I didn't think so.
The recipe comes from a wonderful cookbook called "Dolci - Italy's Sweets" by Francine Segan . Francine explains that the recipe was originally created in the late 1990s by Salvatore De Riso, a tv cooking show host, pastry shop owner and cookbook author. It's a dessert that's frequently ordered in Naples and on the Amalfi coast, she says. (How did I miss this one on my trips there?)
I baked it recently for my Italian chit-chat group and it wasn't as hard to make as it might seem. Although there are multiple steps in the preparation, the cake itself can be made ahead of time and frozen. The day before the group meeting, I whipped up the filling, assembled the cake and let it sit in the refrigerator to firm up. Francine says it keeps beautifully in the refrigerator for up to five days, and freezes well too. Now can you see why I had to give in?
Ricotta Pear Cake
For the cake: