Torta al Limone
Torta al Limone: As the temperatures begin to rise in Le Marche the potted lemon trees can be put outside. Down at the coast lemon trees grow quite happily in the ground but as we are in the hills we need to protect them from frost. Funny thing is…my lemons are not lemons as an Italian gardener friend told me – they are cedri! They are grown principally for their thick and aromatic zests and are used to make candied lemon peel. This then explains why when I have asked for lemons from a market stall I’ve been asked ‘do you want them for zesting or for juice?’ What I know as an ordinary lemon is only used for juice and I must admit the zest of my cedri is beautifully strong in flavour and they don’t give much juice.
I have italianised an old recipe for Torta al Limone cheesecake by using ricotta rather than double cream and I find it much lighter. Here I’ve used a plain biscuit base but you can use crushed amaretto biscotti instead.
This desert would be ideal after an Easter feast and may well make an appearance at the end of our Easter meal this weekend.
- 250 g biscuits (digestives or Italian biscotti di amaretti
- 100g butter
- 500g ricotta ( include some mascapone if you want a creamier texture)
- 170ml cream/or full fat milk
- 200g sugar
- zest and juice of 2 large lemons ( or zest of cedri and juice from normal lemons)
- 3 eggs
- Crush the biscuits in a large bowl with the end of a rolling pin
- Melt the butter and mix in the crushed biscuits
- Press the mixture into a cake tin, and let it firm up in the fridge
- Beat the ricotta (or ricotta/mascapone mixture) with the sugar
- Then beat in the eggs. I use a hand held electric mixer.
- Add the cream/milk, lots of lemon or cedri zest and the lemon juice.
- I often check the taste at this point to make sure its nice and lemony! can always add more zest and juice.
- Pour carefully onto the biscuit base and bake in a low oven (150degrees centigrade) for an hour, until the centre is firmish.
- Switch off the oven and leave in for 15 minutes.
- Then allow to cool.
- You can top the finished cheesecake with fresh fruit. Strawberries are coming into season here in le Marche or blueberries or fruits of the forest.