serves: 8 or more
Of all the wonderful ricotta tortas and crostatas I have made, this one is so unpretentious and delightful that I urge you to put it in your dessert repertoire. The cake is moist and sweet, with a hint of orange and the crunch of toasted almond slices in each bite. In Rome this cake is made with sheep's milk ricotta giving it an additional layer of complexity and if you do have access by all means use sheep milk ricotta and follow the same procedures. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, or to make it fresher fold in the whipped cream an equal amount of sour cream. Top all with berries in season or some halved ripe figs when available.
For Lining the Cake Pan
6 ounces Sweet Tart Dough, well chilled
See recipe for Poached Pear Tart for Tart Dough
1 tablespoon soft butter
⅓ cup fine dry bread crumbs
For the Cake Batter
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 cup sugar
1 pound whole milk ricotta, (preferably fresh), drained overnight
1 tablespoon orange zest, finely grated
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup almonds, sliced, lightly toasted
powdered sugar, for dusting the baked cake
Separate the spring form side ring and bottom disk.
Roll the pastry dough into a round, about a foot in diameter. Lay the pan bottom on the dough and cut around it, to make a perfect 9-inch bottom crust. Butter the pan bottom and place the dough round on top.
Butter the insides of the spring form and coat it with bread crumbs. Fit the ring around the dough-covered bottom disk and snap it closed.
Set a baking stone or tiles on the center rack of the oven and preheat to 350°.
Put the eggs and egg yolk in the mixer bowl and begin whisking at low speed. Add the sugar gradually and whisk on high speed for 2 or 3 minutes.
Lower the speed, add the ricotta in several batches then whip on high speed for 3 minutes or more, until the mixture is smooth and thick-scrape the bowl as needed. Drop in the pinch of salt and the orange zest, then pour in the cream gradually, whipping on high speed for several minutes (and scraping the bowl) so the batter is perfectly smooth and light.
Fold in the almonds by hand and scrape all the batter into the prepared pan. Set the spring form on a cookie or baking sheet and place it on the baking stone.
Bake for approximately an hour, until the cake top is golden brown and springs back when pressed and the sides of the cake are starting to shrink from the pan.
Cool on a wire rack and remove from the spring form. Invert the cake to separate the metal bottom from the pastry crust and place the cake on a platter.
When completely cool, dust the top of the torta with powdered sugar. Cut it in wedges to serve, with whipped cream or fruit if you like.