The Ricotta and Pears Cake (Torta Ricotta e Pere) is a cold cake whose original recipe dates back to the skilled hands of the Italian Pastry chef Sal De Riso, who made this dessert almost an emblem of the beautiful Amalfi Coast, where he was from.
The cake is prepared with two layers of hazelnut biscuit dough, which are filled with a delicious and delicate ricotta cream, enriched with pieces of kaiser pears.
The Ricotta and Pears Cake is a renowned and refined Italian dessert that, although of fairly recent birth, has had a success that has made it at least as famous as the best cakes of classic Italian pastry.
The original Ricotta and Pears Cake is a dessert that is difficult to imitate, because of its specific and very local ingredients, as the hazelnuts and ricotta from the town of Giffoni and the “pennate” pears from Agerola (both in province of Salerno). Yet you will find thousands of recipes to make it at home, all similar to the original, delicious and surprising. This is our version, with ingredients easy to find all around the World.
To prepare the ricotta cake and pears, start preparing the hazelnut biscuit dough. Put the hazelnuts in a mixer (toasted and shelled) and blend them to obtain a fine powder (do not use the ready-made flour, with the hazelnuts you will get a much better and crunchy taste!). Don’t forget to take some hazelnuts apart for the final decoration.
With the whisk of an electric mixer or a planetary mixer, work the sugar and the eggs until the mixture is swollen and frothy.
In a bowl sift the flour and the baking powder, add the powdered hazelnuts and mix well. Add these dry ingredients by spoonful to the egg mixture, continuing to work with a flat whisk or spatula.
Also add a pinch of salt and the melted butter and cool, then pour the dough into two cake pans of 22cm in diameter, in an openable circle, covered with parchment paper. Bake the basis of the cake in a preheated static oven at 180 ° for 10 minutes, take out of the oven and let it cool completely.
Meanwhile, peel the pears and cut them into cubes. Put them back in a pot, add the piece of butter and the lemon juice. Cook the pears to soften them well. It will take about 10 minutes but consider that the actual time may depend on the degree of ripeness of the fruit. So, let it cool well.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta and the sugar, knead with a hand blender to obtain a smooth cream without lumps. Add the pears (if there is any juice, drain it) and add them to the cream with a spatula. Whip the cream and add it to the ricotta cream, stir from bottom to top so as not to take it apart.
When everything is ready you can proceed with the assembly of the cake. Put the first disc of biscuit dough in a plate, place an openable circle to fix the shape well. Pour the cream and level it. Then place the second biscuit disk pressing lightly to fix it. Put the cake to cool in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (it is preferable to prepare it the day before by keeping it in the fridge for a whole night). Take the cake and gently remove the ring. Sprinkle the surface with plenty of icing sugar and decorate with a few slices of pear and hazelnuts. Your ricotta and pear cake is ready to be served!
You can prepare the biscuit bases first and keep them for 1-2 days under a glass bell or wrapped in foil. Also, you can keep the cream for 1 day in the refrigerator.
The complete cake can be kept in the fridge for 1-2 days at the most.
You can freeze it without the decorations.