Saturday, November 29, 2014

Almond Cake with Persimmon Compote

This very nice Italian-style cake is one of the easiest cakes to make. It can be prepared entirely in a stand-up mixer. In principle, it is a cheesecake, but it does not taste like one. True to its Italian roots, it is made with the ricotta cheese, which gives it a nice moist texture but it does not stand out in the taste. As a result, the cake is very delicate and tastes more like a sponge almond cake than a cheesecake.

I decided to garnish this cake with persimmons, which are now in season and are easily available in most of the stores, especially Asian and Middle Eastern. They have a beautiful color and wonderful honey-like sweetness. Because they are so sweet, to tone them down a little, I made a wine and lemon syrup in which I cooked them briefly. Then I poured it over the cake. This combination could not be better. Just try.

Almond Cake with Persimmon Compote
(For a 9-inch round baking form with removable walls)


For the cake:
1/2 cup all purpose flour,
1/2 cup ground almonds,
1/2 cup ricotta cheeses,
2/3 cup sugar,
1 and 1/2 stick unsalted butter,
1 tsp baking powder,
4 eggs.

For persimmon garnish:
4 firm persimmons,
1/2 cup sugar,
1 cup dry white wine,
juice from 1 lemon,
1/2 cup whipped cream or creme fresh to garnish.

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Line a bottom of a baking form with wax paper, grease with butter, and dust with flour.
3. In a medium bowl mix flour, ground almonds, and baking powder.
4. Melt the butter and pour it in a bowl of a mixer. Add sugar and ricotta and beat on a high speed until the mixture becomes very smooth and white, for about 5 minutes.

5. Add to the mixture eggs, beating well between additions. Incorporate dry ingredients and beat again.
6. Transfer the batter to the form, smooth and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top becomes gold. Let it cool down.
7. To make the persimmon compote peel off persimmons cut in half and slice them into a 1/2-inch thick quarters.
8. Pour wine, sugar, and lemon juice into a medium pot. Bring it to boil and cook on a medium high heat for about 30 minutes, until it thickens to a consistency of a syrup. Add persimmon quarters and let it boil in the syrup for two-three minutes. Cool down completely.

9. Remove a cake from the form on a serving plate and finish with persimmons and cream.

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