Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hazelnut Cake with Ricotta and Pears Filling

The base of this cake is made from egg whites only and it was one of the reasons I got interested in this recipe, because I was wondering what to do with the leftover egg whites that I had in my refrigerator

Besides that purely technical aspect, I thought the recipe was worth trying because the cake turned out delicious. It was very light and moist.The base is baked with ground hazelnuts which adds a nice flavor. It is a layered cake and between its two layers there is a cheese and pears filling. Originally fresh ricotta is used for the filling, but if fresh ricotta is not available, it could be replaced with mascarpone. The moisture comes from the syrup that is obtained from cooking pears and is drizzled over the cake at the end.

Hazelnut Cake with Ricotta and Pears Filling

4 egg whites,
3/4 cup roasted hazelnuts,
1/3 cup all purpose flour,
2/3 stick unsalted, room temperature butter,
2 pears peeled and cut into small pieces,
1/4 cup water,
1/4 cup rum,
1/2 cup sugar, plus extra 2 tbsp,
1 cup fresh, drained ricotta (or mascarpone) cheese,
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream,
1/4 cup icing sugar to finish.

1. Preheat oven to 350F. 2. Place hazelnuts in a food processor and grind them into sand-like consistency.
3. Add flour, sugar and butter to the nuts and run the food processor until well blended.
4. In a separate large bowl whisk egg whites until stiff. Fold them into the nut mixture.
5. Grease with butter an 8-inch round baking form with a removable wall and line it with wax paper. Spread the nut mixture evenly and bake for about 20 minutes until firm. Let the cake cool down.
6. In a medium bowl mix water, rum and 1/2 cup sugar and bring it to boiling. Add cut pears pieces and simmer them until soft. Drain the pears and let them cool.
7. In a medium bowl whisk ricotta, 2 tbsp sugar and whipping cream until fluffy. Add pears and mix gently.
8. Place the cake base on a serving plate. Cut in half and spread the cheese filling over the bottom layer.

9. Cover it with the second layer, press gently so the filling spreads between the layers. Drizzle the top of the cake with the rum syrup, dust with icing sugar and serve.

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