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27 February 2012

Strawberry & Ricotta Trifle with Pistachio Brittle & Vermouth Strawberries


Saturday is market day.  The whole stretch of the main road is closed to traffic and fully-covered with vans selling everything you can imagine.   It's a long walk and can get quite tight at times but you forget all these while you are immersed in the middle of the hub.  Browsing around is always a rewarding treat for me.  I'm not speaking about the myriad stalls of clothes or shoes or anything wearable.  The only thing that rivets my attention is the rows of fruits, vegetables, hams, cheeses, bread & herbal plants.  I am referring to the edible part. 


Saturday's finds were Sicilian strawberries and Calabrian clementines.  I was going to skip the strawberries however inviting they were because they were still off-season.  And when they're off season, they are usually imported, insipid and quite expensive.   Then I overheard a lady asking where the strawberries came from and the answer baffled me.  Sicily.  I didn't know Sicily produces strawberries.  That got me.  I will take home anything Sicilian.  So I took a box, like the woman who asked where they came from.  We both had curious expressions wondering about our similar purchases.   


The big box of strawberries rested under the kitchen window.  It caught everyone's attention and its aromatic perfume was pervading the whole kitchen.  And there were two pairs of little hands who found them too irresistible too.  It was going to be a wonderful sunny morning. 


The past days had been exceptionally beautiful.  The sun was relentless and it continued to shine and shed warmth.  The weather is finally starting to pave way to spring.   You don't know how excited I am about it.  It's the season I look forward to, the most.  The temperature is perfect, the leaves and flowers are coming out, there are new vegetables & fruits to look forward to and we can start settling ourselves outdoors again.


Among all the dessert recipes I did, this stands out among the rest.  There is good harmony in its blending, fruity and nutty at the same time.  It completely blew me away.  I can't imagine myself saying that to a dessert with ricotta.  The non-dairy side of me makes this an exception.  I can have this glass over and over again.  If my husband will not wrestle it away from me first.  He loves it too.


I spent the whole weekend cooking and baking.  I am going to share with you the recipes of focaccia al rosmarino (with rosemary), focaccia con pomodorini e origano (cherry tomatoes & oregano) and spaghetti alla puttanesca in the next days.  


I hope you had an inspiring weekend like I did.   

Have a good week!



Strawberry & Ricotta Trifle with Pistachio Brittle & Vermouth Strawberries

Ingredients:
Serves 4
  • 250 grams ricotta
  • 50 grams icing sugar
  • strawberry sauce (see recipe below)
  • pistachio brittle (see recipe below)
  • 150 grams fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup Vermouth
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    Directions:
    1. Sieve the ricotta to attain a creamy & smooth texture.  Whisk in the icing sugar.  Mix well.  Refrigerate for half an hour. 
    2. Prepare the strawberry sauce (see recipe below).
    3. Prepare the pistachio brittle (see recipe below).
    4. In a bowl, pour the Vermouth and mix in the granulated sugar.  Put the strawberries in the bowl with the Vermouth.  Macerate for 10 minutes then drain.
    5. In individual serving glasses, put a layer of the ricotta then a layer of the strawberry sauce. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    6. Before serving, garnish with the marinated strawberries and pistachio crumble.


    Strawberrry sauce 

    Ingredients:
    • 350 grams strawberries, hulled
    • 1 teaspoon Vermouth
    • 30 grams granulated sugar
    Directions:
    1. Put the strawberries, Vermouth and sugar in the blender. 
    2. Blend until smooth. 

    Pistachio brittle

    Ingredients:
    • 30 grams crushed Bronte pistachios or any kind
    • 50 grams granulated sugar (you can also put up the amount of sugar to about 70 - 80 g.)
    • 3 tablespoons water
    Directions:
    1. Over low - medium heat, in a thick bottomed small saucepan, melt the sugar and water. 
    2.  Swirl the sugar around the pan by turning the pan.  
    3. When the sugar melts, distribute the pistachios evenly and swirl again. 
    4. When the caramel becomes brownish, transfer it to a plate lined with parchment paper.  Let it cool until it hardens then break it into pieces.