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The zuppa papale ricetta is one of the myriad little cakes that get lost in the wonderful world of Sicilian pastry. Everyone knows Cassata Cannoli, and after the British Bake Off, our recipe for Setteveli was downloaded innumerable times. But I stumbled across the zuppa papale ricetta, an unheard of cake in our first venture into eastern Sicily. Basically it is a cocoa Pan Di Spagna (with potato starch) with an equally hight layer of sheeps milk ricotta. It is then drizzled with a chocolate sauce and occassionally with toasted slivered Sicilian almonds and to gild the lily, a small shower of powdered sugar. So if you cant find sheep’s milk ricotta, try making your own from this winning recipe from our 2019 Horses Doovers Contest. I tried with cow’s milk ricotta, which was very watery. When I drained it, the remaining ricotta was too heavy and did not have the smoothness needed. That’s why the ricotta made at home with milk and cream was superior. You must trim the cake and you can brush the trimmed layer with a one-to- one sugar syrup with some maraschino liqueur added to it.
- For the Ricotta Topping
- 800 gr (28.25oz) sheeps milk ricotta,
- 200-250g craster sugar
- For the Cake
- 5 large eggs
- 150 gr(I5.25 oz) caster sugar
- 75 gr (2.66oz) flour, tipo 00 or cake flour is preferred
- 50gr (1.75oz) potato starch
- 30gr (1oz) Dutched Cocoa Powder
- maraschino liqueur ( I combined kirsch with a bit of Licor 43, about 2oz mixed with an equal amount of water)
- Prepare a 23cm or 9 inch cake pan with a removable bottom - grease bottom and sides with butter.
- Line the bottom with parchment and regrease - I "flour" the interior with cocoa powder or ground almonds.
- Preheat oven to 350F
- In a mixer, with the whisk attachment, and in a warm bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar until the volume is more than doubled - It should be creamy with no granular texture.
- Sift flour, potato starch and cocoa together and lightly fold into egg mixture - make sure that the flour mixture is thoroughly folded throughout the egg and sugar mixture.
- Pour into a prepared pan or form, making the sure that the batter is level by tapping it on the counter.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes, cake is done when the interior temperature is around 195F (I use a Thermapen)
- Allow cake to cool and level off with a serrated knife about 1cm or enough to make the cake layer about the same height as the ricotta topping.
- Trim the sides of the cake and then apply the liqueur and water mixture to the top and sides- just lightly, this is not a rum cake!
- I turn the cake scraps into crumbs and use them in other baked goods.
- think sheeps milk ricotta is preferred for this cake. It is lighter and drier than the cow's milk ricotta that ! can buy here.
After owning one of the best cooking stores in the US for 47 years, Nancy Pollard writes a blog about food in all its aspects – recipes, film, books, travel, superior sources and food related issues.