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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

From Passover Monday to Easter Sunday!

Hello all! It's Wednesday! Phew. We made it halfway. I had a lovely Passover this year...I made some last minute coconut macaroons (I am a macaroon fanatic...I couldn't stop eating the pieces!). I also made a flourless chocolate cake...which is ALWAYS a crowd pleaser, though I still prefer my coconut! All in all, it seemed fairly successful!

Overall, it's been a very busy week for me! I also had an order for birthday cupcakes for a boy turning 6. Those pictures are coming... In the meantime, let's get ready for Easter now, shall we?

Ricotta Cheesecake
Melissa Roberts and Maggie Ruggiero


  • 3 tablespoons finely crushed amaretti (crisp Italian macaroons) or plain fine dry bread crumbs
  • 2 pounds fresh ricotta at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 6 large eggs at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Equipment: an 8-inch springform pan

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in lower third.
  2. Lightly butter pan and coat with cookie crumbs, leaving any loose crumbs distributed over bottom of pan.
  3. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour into crust.
  4. Bake until puffed and golden but center is still slightly wobbly, about 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Cool in pan on a rack (cake will sink a little).
  6. Serve cheesecake warm or at room temperature.
Cooks' notes:
Ricotta cheesecake is best eaten the day it is made but can be made 1 day ahead and kept at cool room temperature.

Lemon Curd Tart with Olive Oil
Adapted from Rosa Jackson, Les Petits Farcis - Nice, France

For tart shell:
  • 2 tablespoons almonds with skins, toasted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons fruity olive oil (preferably French)
For lemon curd:
  • 3 large lemons
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 whole large eggs plus 2 large yolks
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons fruity olive oil (preferably French)
  • a 9-inch round tart pan with removable side; a small offset spatula

Make tart shell:
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.
  2. Pulse almonds with flour, sugar, and sea salt to a fine powder in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
  3. Add yolk and oil and pulse until just incorporated and a very soft dough has formed.
  4. Spread dough evenly over bottom and up side of pan with offset spatula. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
  5. Bake shell until golden brown all over, about 13 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Make curd:
  1. Grate enough zest from lemons to measure 1 tablespoon, then squeeze 3/4 cup juice from lemons.
  2. Whisk together lemon zest and juice, sugar, cornstarch, whole eggs, and yolks in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil, whisking, 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and oil until smooth.

Assemble tart:
  1. Pour lemon curd into cooled shell and chill until set, at least 2 hours.
Cooks' notes:
• Tart shell can be made 1 day ahead and kept, loosely covered, at room temperature.
•• Assembled tart can be chilled up to 4 hours.

Chewy Amaretti Sandwich Cookies
Gourmet, January 2009, Lillian Chou

  • 1 (7-ounce) tube pure almond paste (not marzipan; 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg whites at room temperature for 30 minutes
a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch plain tip

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 large (17- by 12-inch) 4-sided sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Pulse almond paste and sugar in a food processor until broken up, then add egg whites and pulse until smooth. Transfer to pastry bag and pipe 3/4-inch rounds (1/3 inch high) about 3/4 inch apart in pans. Dip a fingertip in water and gently tamp down any peaks.
  3. Bake, rotating and switching position of pans halfway through, until golden and puffed, 15 to 18 minutes.
  4. Wearing an oven mitt, rest 1 pan in sink at an angle. Lift top edge of parchment and slowly pour about 1/4 cup water between parchment and sheet pan so that all of parchment is lightly moistened (water will steam on pan, moistening bottom of cookies to help them stick together later). Repeat with remaining sheet pan. Cool cookies in pans on racks.
  5. Peel cookies from parchment and sandwich bottoms of cookies together
Cooks' note:
Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature 1 day or frozen up to 1 month.

Happy baking!

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