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08 June 2012

Mini Almond Cakes with Ricotta, Pears & Cherries

It all started with the neglected ricotta in the fridge.  I bought it for something I was planning to cook but I changed the recipe at the last minute and I didn't use it anymore.   Being fresh, it needed my attention fast or it goes straight to the dump.  I don't want that.  Something sweet and delicious my husband loves ordering at the restaurants jogged my memory.  The torta di ricotta & pere (ricotta & pear cake) lingered in our mouths & memories for so long that maybe, I can try to recreate it.

What started with one innocent dessert of ricotta & pear cake branched out to six desserts in one day.   I'll tell you why.

While I was cutting up the pear, my eyes fell on the box of cherries I just bought.  I tried one and because it was so sweet, I didn't stop eating anymore.  I thought that I can make a variation of cherries with ricotta among the three mini cakes I was preparing.  That was dessert number 2.

Dessert number 3 came out after I finished assembling the cakes, I still had a lot of ricotta with fruits left and the cake that got left behind after I cut up the discs.  I diced the remaining cake.  I got a couple of glasses, I poured the ricotta, sprinkled the cake & some quartered cherries.   I had a couple of trifles too.

When I took out my ice cream maker, I promised myself that the first ice cream that will come out from there will be for my kids.  I found a perfect chocolate ice cream recipe of my favorite gelateria (ice cream shop) with just three simple ingredients.  Then I added some amarena cherries because my son loves putting them together so much that I decided to put them together already to surprise him when he spoons his ice cream.  That's dessert number 4.  

I soaked my azuki, (Japanese red beans) the previous night and was really planning to do these ice pops.  Dessert number 5 was something that had been lingering in my mind for so long.  After I found some azuki at the bio store, I earmarked them for the ice pop recipe I found.  I grew up with these ice pops with fond memories of eating them, getting dirty and sticky with the drippings and just loving every single second of it. 

My 6th and last recipe for that day was another ice cream.  It's a recipe I bookmarked from a friend's blog that she grew up with instead in Japan.  I was curious about it and since it uses azuki as the main ingredient, it would have to taste similar to the ice pops I loved when I was a kid. 

I'll be sharing with you the recipes of the other 4 desserts I made after this.  They're really simple and easy.  They just require a lot of waiting time in cooking and freezing.  If I made all of them together in one day, you can also do them.  But not altogether I hope!  

Now let me tell you about these cakes.  I found a lot of recipes to make this cake but this particular one jumped out at me.   It seemed like the ones that my husband had in a couple of restaurants that were really unforgettable and the recipe came from a chef in Amalfi Coast.   Then it uses more almond flour than regular flour.  The cake itself should taste wonderfully almondy.  And I was right!  The cake was really, really good.  Between the cherry and the pear version, we both preferred the pear.  The cherry was excellent too, but the pear provided us with a delicacy in taste that married well with the almond cake and ricotta.

The original recipe was conceptualized for a big round cake of 26 cm.  I did not change the quantities of the ingredients of the cake.  I just poured the batter in a 36 x 25 cm. flat rectangular pan instead of two round ones and cut the 10.5 round discs to make mini cake versions.   If I had smaller round discs, I would have made them smaller because a 10.5 cake was an extra big portion for one person.   For the filling, I halved everything in this recipe.  I followed the full one but I was left with too much ricotta mixture.  Half the original amount should just be perfect.

Hope you all have a good weekend!



Mini Almond Cakes with Ricotta, Pears & Cherries

Inspired by Misya's Torta di Ricotta e Pere (recipe in Italian)

Makes 3 mini cakes of 10.5 cm. each
  • 6 round mini almond cakes (see recipe below)
  • ricotta pear mixture or ricotta cherry mixture (see recipes below)
  • cherries or pears
  • icing sugar
  1. Place the food shaper on a plate.
  2. Put one cake disc inside the shaper.
  3. Spoon some ricotta with pears or with cherries on it.  If putting the one with cherries, first, line the sides with quartered cherries before putting some ricotta mixture.
  4. Cover with another cake disc.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to make the ricotta set.
  6. Take away food shaper only before serving.  Sprinkle with icing sugar on top.  Decorate with the fruit you set aside.

Almond Cake:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 40 g. icing sugar
  • 140 g. granulated sugar
  • 140 g. almond flour
  • 60 g. flour "00" (can be replaced with all-purpose flour)
  • 30 g. butter, softened
  1. In a bowl, beat the 3 egg whites (leave one to mix with the egg yolks) until stiff then add the icing sugar.  Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks and 1 egg white with the granulated sugar until it becomes creamy. Add the almond flour & flour "00" gradulally while still blending. Add the softened butter and continue blending until the mixture becomes smooth. 
  3. Pour the whipped egg whites in the egg yolk mixture and  mix with a rubber spatula gently.
  4. Line a 36 x 25 cm. baking pan with parchment paper and pour the mixture in it.  
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
  6. When it's cooked, invert it and peel off the parchment paper carefully.  Let it cool.
  7. Using a round 10.5 cm. food shaper, shape 6 discs. 
  8. Dice the remaining cake for use with the other recipes like this Almond Cake, Ricotta and Cherry Trifle.


Ricotta Pear Filling:


  • 200 g. pear (or one medium pear),  peeled & diced + a few thin slices for garnishing
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 150 g. ricotta
  • 35 g. icing sugar
  • 125 g. cream, whipped


  1. In a covered saucepan, over low heat, cook the pears with the lemon juice, granuated sugar and butter for 15 minutes or until the pears become soft. Let it cool.
  2. In a bowl, mix the ricotta and the sugar.  Let it pass through a strainer with a fine mesh by pushing it with the help of a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon. 
  3. Add the cooled pears.
  4. Add the whipped cream and fold gently with a rubber spatula.  
  5. Refrigerate for an hour.

Ricotta Cherry Filling:


  • 3/4 cup cherries + some for the sides, pitted & quartered 
  • 150 g. ricotta
  • 35 g. icing sugar
  • 125 g. cream, whipped


  1. In a bowl, mix the ricotta and the sugar.  Let it pass through a strainer with a fine mesh by pushing it with the help of a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon. 
  2. Add the cherries.
  3. Add the whipped cream and fold gently with a rubber spatula.  
  4. Refrigerate for an hour.