Lemon ricotta cake

coming together nicely

I have a go to flourless orange cake which I adore, but the other day had some divine paesanella ricotta hanging around that needed to be used. Seeing as I’m doing the whole no carbs with fat/protein and no refined carbs a nifty little batch of ricotta gnocchi was out of the question (quietly sobs) and I was at a bit of a loss when I came across this Ben O’Donoghue and thought BINGO! It has a smidge of (semolina) flour in it but I was willing to overlook it. I love Ben’s recipes and he was always my favourite in Surfing the Menu. Curtis Stone is just a little to much of a show-pony-pretty-boy for my cooking likes.

‘My’ custard powder pastry recipe and the associated free-form apple pie is his Nan’s and I reckon that’s pretty cool.

So let’s get on with it.

Rather tasty

Lemon ricotta cake (in which I used oranges)

Recipe from: At home with Ben, Ben O’Donoghue

  • 225g butter
  • 250g sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 65g semolina flour
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • Rind of 6 lemons
  • 300g ricotta
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 160C and grease and line a 26cm springform cake tin
  2. Beat the butter and sugar until very pale then add the egg yolks one at a time
  3. Combine the almond meal, semolina, half the lemon zest and half the juice (although when I made it with oranges I added all the zest because I didn’t read the recipe properly. Rookie mistake) and fold into the butter and sugar mixture
  4. Crumble in the ricotta and fold through (Ben appears to leave it in little chunks whereas my ricotta was wetter so was more incorporated)
  5. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks and then fold through the mixture
  6. Pour into the tin and bake for 40mins or until a skewer comes out clean (I find with flourless cakes the time can vary massively – just persevere and cover with foil if you’re worried the top is getting too dark)
  7. Make a syrup with the remaining juice, zest, 1/2 cup of sugar and a cup of water by bringing it to the boil then reducing by half (I sort of forgot to read this bit and just made a syrup of equal parts sugar and juice)
  8. Pour over the cake and eat until you can eat no more.
just a wafer monsieur





Lemon chicken

Oh dudes, I totally found my cooking mojo this last week. There has been masses of baking and this weekend featured an explosion of new dishes which were all blindingly successful. What is not to love. I am largely indebted to Ruth at Gourmet Girlfriend for triggering this renewed vigour in the kitchen. I think we all know I ebb and flow with enthusiasm for anything, but a couple of her posts in the last two weeks just made me go – MUST.MAKE.THAT.  This lemon chicken was not one of those (hah!), it was, in fact, planned as the non-spicy dish for the rest of the family while I gorged on spicy salt and pepper tofu and Szechuan braised eggplant.

Sunshine in a fruit!

Of course I had completely forgotten Oscar has a disco so suddenly I was under the pump. The chicken was up, everything else was on hold to Saturday.

mmm deep frying

When Oscar was in hospital over New Years, a friend gifted me Neil Perry’s balance & harmony: asian food. It was an outrageously generous gift which has since sat on the shelf calling my name every since. I’m a nervous Asian cuisine cook which is silly considering how much of it I’ve cooked, I guess it’s because I rely heavily on recipes and am reticent to wing it. I knew I was going to do something with chicken wings but was sick of our standard honey soy variety so pulled the book out for some ideas.

Lemon sauce in preparation

This was so SO easy and delivered the most delicate and delicious flavours. Go on, MAKE IT. Oh – while I think of it, I did chicken wingettes not the thigh pieces as indicated in the recipe. Because I did those and made a lot more (like 1kg of wings) I did 1 1/2 times the lemon sauce. Also – in the deep-frying, I cooked them until nice and golden then put on an oven rack and popped them in the oven for another 10 minutes or so, just to ensure they were cooked through.

mmm chicken, tasty tasty chicken


Lemon chicken
A delightful mix of lemony sweetness and crispy chicken.
For the chicken
  • 300 g chicken thigh fillets, skin on, trimmed into 1cm slices (I used wing pieces)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tblsp cornflour
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying (I used rice bran oil)
For the lemon sauce
  • 2 lemons
  • 3 tblsp sugar
  • 3 tblsp white vinegar
  • 3 tblsp water
  • a pinch of Szechuan pepper
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
To cook the chicken
  1. Put the chicken pieces, egg and salt in a bowl, toss and leave for an hour
  2. Remove the chicken from the egg and toss in the cornflour until evenly coated
  3. Heat the oil in a wok until just smoking (180C) and deep fry the chicken pieces until golden brown and cooked through, then drain on paper towel
For the sauce
  1. Finely grate the zest from half a lemon then juice the whole lemon.
  2. Peel and fillet* the other lemon
  3. Put the sugar, vinegar, water, lemon fillets, zest and juice in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat
  5. Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the Szechuan pepper and spring onions.


* I have no idea what a lemon fillet is. I peeled the lemon including all the pith and then cut segments out between the pod membrane.




Lemon Shortbread

I adore shortbread. Far more than standard biscuits. Something to do with the mealy buttery nature of them I suspect. This is in the current issue of Donna Hay magazine and as soon as I saw them I knew I must bake them.

Lemon Shortbread
Donna Hay Magazine

  • 150g butter
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2/3 cup icing sugar
  1. Beat the butter and sugar for 8-10 minutes until pale and creamy
  2. Add lemon juice, zest and vanilla
  3. Add the flour and cornflour and beat until a smooth dough forms
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 pieces
  5. Roll into 2x20cm logs, wrap in cling film and freeze for 30 minutes
  6. Preheat oven to 180C
  7. Cut dough into 1cm thick rounds
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden
  9. Gently toss the warm shortbreads in the extra icing sugar, cool on wire racks and store in an airtight container.

Lemon Curd Tart

So this is basically my favourite dessert/tart/sweet treat of all time. If I come upon a patisserie or a cake shop which looks even remotely like it has a proper pastry chef at the helm I will buy a lemon tart. Or Citron tart if we feel like getting fancy.

I adore my lemon butter but it is not right for a proper lemon tart. Similarly, that time I made the lemon meringue tart when I so bravely tried to keep up with the Daring Bakers produced a very easy lemon ‘curd’ but I could not bring myself to say a mix that involves cornflour is a proper lemon curd.

This comes from Jane and Jeremy Strode who own Bistrode, a 40 seat bistro in Sydney. They also do the weekly recipes in Good Living, which I always find very hit and miss. In fact, I bought their cookbook bistrode purely on flicking through it in the bookshop and chancing upon the page with their lemon curd tarts. There is much in the book I will try, far more than what they offer in GL, and this lemon curd is absolutely sensational.

The shortcrust pastry below is the one I use for everything. I think it is a Bill Granger recipe from recollection. (The picture below features double the curd recipe and is made in a 10cm x 33cm tart case w/ removable base.)

Lemon Curd Tart
Jane and Jeremy Strode, Bistrode
For the pastry

  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 350g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cold water

For the curd

  • 120g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 175ml lemon juice
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten

For the pastry

  1. Process the flour with the butter and add enough water for it to come together as a dough
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes
  3. Roll the pastry to 2mm thick and line a tart case or 12 x 10cm diameter round discs (Jane Strode says here to cut out the discs and then refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight but I am never so organised – I cut them out, line the cases and then refrigerate)
  4. Make sure you avoid any air bubbles between the pastry and the tin
  5. Line and fill with pie weights and bake for 10 minutes or until golden-brown and cooked through then allow to cool.

For the curd

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan then add the sugar and stir to combine
  2. Add lemon juice and eggs and cook over a medium to low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon
  3. Make sure you don’t let it boil as this will curdle the eggs
  4. Take off the heat and pass through a fine strainer into a clean container
  5. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing gently onto the surface so a skin doesn’t form and cool in the fridge before spooning into the tart case(s)
  6. The curd will keep in the fridge for a week.

Seriously, I could eat this until my head fell off.

Oh, and that pastry quantity will mean you have some left over. Just wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for another day.

Lemon Delicious

Lemon delicious
the lightest feathery sponge on top, tart bubbling sauce below

This is something I have eaten since I was a small child and is also one of the  first recipes I ever learnt. But look, the recipe is a family one, the amounts are not standard metric measurements and the method is, to me, somewhat odd. Each time I make it it’s a little different – more sauce, less sauce, very tart, not so much – but I like that.

The tablespoon I use is a big old antique number, the lemon juice amount is totally dependent on how juicy the lemons are and so on. Regardless of it all, this is my comfort food.

Lemon delicious
this makes the world a better place


My Nan’s Lemon Delicious

  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 large heaped tbsp SR flour
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 200C and grease a smallish baking dish*
  2. In a bowl mix the butter with the sugar, it won’t come together like a standard ‘cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy’ but will be more like  a ‘sand’
  3. Add the flour
  4. Mix the egg yolks with the milk and add to the dry mixture and then add the lemon juice
  5. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks
  6. Add a third (or so) of the egg whites to the mixture, folding through until incorporated then fold through the rest of the egg whites
  7. Pour into the baking dish and bake at 200 for 10 minutes
  8. Turn the oven down to 180C and bake for a further 35-40 minutes – keep an eye on it so the top doesn’t scorch. I sometimes turn the oven down to 150C for the last 10 or so minutes

* It is a lovely thing to do in individual bowls/ramekins – obviously adjust cooking times.

Lemon delicious
ready for the oven


lemon delicious
with cream, or ice cream, or custard, or all three quite frankly.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...