Showing posts with label ricotta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ricotta. Show all posts

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Savory Zucchini Cheesecake #BundtBakers

A cheesecake with a difference, this savory zucchini version is perfect sliced up and served on toasted bread or crackers. 

The best part of belonging to groups like Bread Bakers and Bundt Bakers is the challenge of creating a recipe to fit each month’s theme. We have a lot of talented bakers in both groups and sometimes it seems like they are trying to outdo each other when they host! The rule is that the host gets to choose the theme. If you’ve been reading along, you know that just in the last couple of months, we've baked Bundts inspired by the tales of Scheherazade and retro desserts, just to name two creative themes.

This month our host is Padmajha from Seduce Your Tastebuds and she has gone in an unusual direction for baking in a Bundt pan: Savory! I immediately thought of the little savory shrimp cheesecakes I baked a couple of years ago for Sunday Supper and I knew a larger Bundt would be delicious. Since summer is the season of an overload of zucchinis (courgettes to my Australian/British readers), I decided to incorporate them to help those gardeners with the surplus. You are welcome!

Drizzle of olive oil, for oiling the Bundt pan
2 cups or 230g zucchini, unpeeled & grated
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 large eggs
leaves from few sprigs fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup or 35g minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 fresh jalapeño, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups or 485g whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup or 50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Optional, to garnish:
Zest of one lemon
Thyme leaves

Tip: Use a microplane to zest the lemon onto a paper towel and set it aside early in the process. When it's time to sprinkle the lemon zest on your savory Bundt, it will be quite dry and sprinkle-able. Damp zest tends to clump together. 

Preheat oven to 325°F or 163°C. Drizzle about a teaspoon or so of olive oil in your 10-cup Bundt pan. I used this square one from Nordic Ware. (<affiliate link) The square design makes cutting slices to top bread or crackers much tidier. Use a pastry brush to get the oil in all the little corners and crevices of your chosen pan.

In a colander, toss the grated zucchini with the salt and set it aside to drain either in the sink or with a bowl underneath. It’s amazing how much liquid comes out.

Whisk your eggs with the thyme leaves and a good sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper in a large bowl.

Add in the onion, garlic and jalapeño and mix again.

Squeeze the grated zucchini to get out as much liquid as you possible can, then add it to the bowl.

Add the lemon juice and the flour and mix well.

Now fold in the ricotta and the Parmesan. Give the whole thing another good few grinds of black pepper. Can you tell I am a fan?

Spoon the cheese mixture into the pan and smooth out the top.

Bake in your preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until the cheesecake is still just set. It will set more as it cools.

Leave it on a wire rack for about half an hour or until it looks fairly firm. Now here’s the tricky bit. You need to put your serving plate on top of the pan and turn the whole thing over in one swift but steady movement. You do not want one side of the cheesecake to fall out before the other. I ran a toothpick around the edges and tipped mine from side to side to loosen it first. (Don’t use a knife or you might mar the non-stick finish of a Nordic Ware pan.)

Mix your thyme leaves and lemon zest together and sprinkle them both on the cheesecake.

Serve with sliced baguette or crackers. And perhaps a celebratory beverage.


Many thanks this month to our host, Padmajha. Making a savory Bundt was a great challenge! Many thanks also to Renee of Magnolia Days who made sure this all ran smoothly.

Check out all the wonderful ways my fellow Bundt Bakers met the challenge.


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the Bundt Bakers home page.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Slow Cooker Lasagna #SundaySupper

Spicy Italian sausage is my go-to meat for lasagna and meatballs. It adds such wonderful flavor! This slow cooker lasagna is easy to put together, plus you can walk away and come back to deliciousness without worrying about it burning in the oven. 

This week Sunday Supper is moving northwest from Greece across the Mediterranean Sea to Italy to share Italian recipes. Our host Manuela of Manu’s Menu is Italian but she lives in Australia, serving up authentic Italian dishes from her childhood in Milan. I love that our Sunday Supper family is so diverse and far-flung. This is a worldwide movement, for sure! Italian food outside of Italy is often “distorted” from the original, says Manuela, and she is so right. Read on to see how I’ve changed up lasagna so most Italian mammas wouldn’t recognize it. It’s still delicious though!

Growing up, my older sister and I took turns cooking dinner when my mom went back to work. One of my favorites was the Hamburger Helper with that pasta that looks like lasagna noodles but way skinnier. When my younger sister got old enough to cook too, she often made real lasagna. It was sort of her specialty and I guess it still is. You really can’t compare Hamburger Helper to real lasagna but I’m going to dare to compare the real stuff with one cooked in a slow cooker. I must confess that it doesn’t look as pretty as a neatly cut square of an oven-baked casserole and the crispy bits around the edges that we all fight over are missing. But all in all, with a huge plus for ease of assembly and hands-off time, it’s quite delicious, especially when made with spicy Italian sausage meat.

2.2 lbs or 1kg spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
4 cups or 360g grated mozzarella cheese.
2 cups or 500g ricotta
12 sheets (about 8 oz or 225g) uncooked lasagna noodles
6 cups or 1475g spaghetti sauce (your favorite)

To serve: freshly grated Parmesan and sprigs of parsley, if desired

Pan fry and drain your sausage meat, breaking it into crumbles. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little while.

Put about 1 cup or 240ml of sauce in the bottom of your slow cooker. Layer in 3-4 lasagna noodles, breaking off the corners so they sit nicely in your slow cooker. Put the little broken pieces in any gaps.

Mix the ricotta cheese in with the crumbled sausage meat.

Add one half of the meat/ricotta to the top of the noodles.

Then sprinkled on one third of the shredded cheese and add another cup or so of the sauce to the top.

Repeat the process starting with another layer of noodles. Finish with noodles then sauce. You should have one third of the mozzarella left. Put it in the refrigerator for later.

Cook for six hours on low.

After about five hours.

About 1 hour before serving, add the reserved shredded mozzarella cheese. Cover and cook until melted.

To serve, try to scoop up a good cross section of the lasagna through all the layers.

Top with fresh grated Parmesan, if desired. That’s non-negotiable in our house. A little parsley adds color as well.


Are you looking for an Italian feast? You’ve come to the right place!

And Zucchini Torta plus More Recipes for Italian Fest from Sunday Supper Movement
Sunday Supper Movement

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter every Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Queijadas de Sintra #IsabelsBirthdayBash #SundaySupper

Queijadas de Sintra are sweet cheese tarts with a hint of cinnamon, a traditional dessert from a town high in the hills outside of Lisbon. In Portugal they are made with fresh cheese or queijo fresco. This version is made with ricotta. 

[Shhhhh! Get behind the sofa! I can't stop giggling!!! Is she here yet?!! Any minute now...]

Surprise, Isabel! Happy Birthday! 

Today I’m sharing this sweet treat from Portugal to celebrate the birthday of someone very special, my friend, Isabel, otherwise known as Family Foodie, founder of the Sunday Supper Movement. Back in December of 2012, when Isabel sent me a private message on Twitter inviting me to join Sunday Supper, I emailed her right away to accept. I had heard such great things about the supportive community and was delighted to become a part of it. Her mission, the goal of Sunday Supper, is to encourage families, one home at a time, to gather again around the family table for mealtime. Under her passionate leadership and with a great team of willing workers, the movement is spreading around the world.

One thing for certain is that our online Sunday Supper family also comes together every week, each bringing a dish or drink to share. Isabel's recipes are often favorites from her early childhood in Portugal or recreated memories from summers spent there as she grew up, as well as family traditions learned from her mother. In fact, if you search her blog for the word Portuguese, 12 pages of recipes show up and, boy, does she love her chorizo! I couldn't resist trying to create a Portuguese dessert in her honor.

Today many of her Sunday Supper family members are gathering again on this rare Tuesday, dishes in hand to wish Isabel a very happy birthday, so make sure to scroll down to the bottom to see the whole list of deliciousness we are bringing to the surprise party.

Many thanks to Terri from Love and Confections for organizing this great celebration!

For the pastry crust: (Best made one day ahead, if possible.)
1 cup or 125g flour
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup or 60ml cold water – or as needed. I added about one teaspoon more.
Good pinch salt

For the filling:
1 cup or 250g ricotta
2 egg yolks (preferably from large eggs)
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 level tablespoons plain flour
Good pinch salt

Cut your butter into the flour with the pinch of salt, until you have sandy crumbles.

Add in the cold water and mix it in with a fork until it just starts hanging together. Mine still had quite a bit of dry flour so I added one teaspoon of water more and then it was perfect.

Knead the dough for a couple of minutes and then wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of several hours or preferably overnight.

When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C and grease six holes in your non-stick muffin pan. I also cut six small circles of parchment to cover the bottom, as more insurance that the tarts will release.

Roll your dough out very thinly, on a sheet of cling film, covered with another sheet of cling film. This helps make sure it won’t stick to your work surface.

For a normal sized muffin pan, your circles of dough needs to be about 4 3/4 in or 12cm across. Make a template or find something round in your kitchen that’s about that size. As you can see, I used the top of a plastic container.

Cut around the template and remove the dough in between the circles.

Ease each circle into a greased muffin pan hole. Pop the pan in the refrigerator while you get on with the filling.

To make sure there are no lumps whatsoever, push the ricotta through a metal sieve.

Add in the sugar, the two egg yolks, the cinnamon, the flour and the good pinch of salt.

Whisk well to combine. Spoon the filling into the pastry cases.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the tarts are just cooked, perhaps still just a little jiggly. They’ll firm up further when they start to cool.

Remove them from the muffin pan and cool on a wire rack.


Parabéns, Isabel! Desejo-te tudo de melhor hoje e todos os dias! Obrigada por criar um grupo que se tornou como uma segunda família para mim. Nós te amamos!

Join us in celebrating Isabel's Birthday with all the delicious food and drinks her #SundaySupper family prepared!

Birthday Drinks
Birthday Appetizers
Birthday Main Courses
Birthday Desserts


Monday, February 16, 2015

Blood Orange Ricotta Muffins #MuffinMonday

Fresh ricotta, scented with blood orange zest and mixed with brown sugar is a softly sweet filling for these lovely blood orange muffins.

Yesterday I popped into my local grocery store, which in the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you is actually part of a large French chain, and I came across blood oranges. They were part of a great big display of citrus of all kinds from many countries. The sign said they were red oranges from Spain, but the fruit itself bore this sticker.

I must have wasted the better part of half an hour on the internet, trying to determine if they were indeed Spanish or, perhaps, Italian. Because, if you were a Spanish company, would you choose the Mona Lisa for your logo? Seems odd. Anyway, here I am, none the wiser about the provenance of my citrus, but I do have a lovely muffin to share.

I’d be delighted to hear from anyone who knows more about the Mona Lisa oranges. Enigmatic, they are. Just like her smile.

For ricotta filling:
3/4 cup or 180g fresh whole-milk ricotta
1/4 cup or 50g dark brown sugar
1 large egg white (Save the yolk for the muffin batter.)
1 tablespoon blood orange juice
Zest of one half blood orange
Pinch of salt

For the muffin batter:
2 cups or 250g flour
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest of one half blood orange
1/2 cup or 120ml canola oil
1/4 cup or 60ml milk
1/4 cup or 60ml blood orange juice
1 large egg
1 egg yolk (Because what else are you going to do with one yolk?)

Optional for decorating: 2-3 teaspoons pearl sugar

Zest your blood orange and divide the zest into two small piles.

Put one pile in a small bowl with all of the other ricotta filling ingredients and mix well.

The blood orange juice is a gorgeous red, isn't it?

Put the filling in the refrigerator to keep cold.

Not the prettiest filling but so rich and delicious.
Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare a 12-cup muffin pan by greasing well or lining it with muffin papers.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the other small pile of zest.

In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together your oil, milk, juice, whole egg and yolk.

Pour your liquids into your dry ingredients and fold until just combined. There should still be a little flour showing.

Spoon or scoop a generous tablespoon of batter into your prepared muffin pan.

Top the batter with another good tablespoon of the ricotta filling.

Finish by dividing the remainder of the batter between the muffin cups.

Use a sharp knife to cut two or three ways through the batter to mix it up a little bit with the filling.

Sprinkle with a few pieces of pearl sugar, if desired. I like pearl sugar because it makes plain things pretty. This muffin is pretty special on the inside but fairly plain on the outside otherwise.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the muffins are golden.

Cool the whole pan on a wire rack for a few minutes then remove the muffins and continuing cooling them on the rack.


See what I mean about the filling? You'll have to trust me that it tastes good!