Photo by Roadstar Photography

We have now hosted 4 fundraising meals, for a variety of causes, showcasing regional Italian cuisine. In September Troppo Buono came over from Rome to cook with me a lunch based on Sardinia’s dishes. 
While for the previous meals we had cooked dishes we pretty much grew up with, with the beautiful island’s food we had a little bit more of a challenge ahead of us, whereby we were less familiar with the rich gastronomic heritage of the islands. We picked what we like, and we chose dishes that would be fairly easy to recreate in a London kitchen. 
The sweet courses were all interesting. We had a gorgeous, refreshing berry sorbet donated by Scoop Gelato, ‘drowned’ in Mirto (Sardinia’s herbal digestive); we had beautiful, home made cakes made by Troppo Buono’s mother in law who is indeed from the island. We finally had my take on a traditional cake, called Torta Pardula. 
I had been playing around with ingredients and doses, until I reached what I thought was a good balance of flavours and judging by the guests’ feedback, it seemed a success! 
Here is my recipe for an almost guilt free treat – there is in fact, hardly any fat in this cake (no butter, no oil). Win win situation!

Torta Pardula with a twist

300gr ricotta (better if fresh)
200gr caster sugar
50gr brown sugar
250gr white spelt flour
3 free range eggs
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1 sachet of saffron
a light amount of freshly grated tonka bean (optional)
10gr of milled organic flaxseeds (I used these)
half sachet of Vanillina or a few drop of vanilla essence
2 teaspoons of baking powder

Heat the oven to 170c / 180c fan. Line a round spring clip baking tray with baking parchment and brush with some vegetable oil (your only oil in the recipe!).
Mix the sugars with the ricotta until smooth and creamy; add the egg yolks, then the flour and flax seeds, the zests, the tonka bean and vanilla essence. Whisk the egg whites and carefully fold in, trying to maintain some air in it. Finally add the baking powder.  
Pour the mixture in the tin and garnish with a tablespoon of brown sugar. I added some flaked almonds on the surface for added texture, but pine nuts worked well too.
Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes, but do check with a skewer, it should be cooked but not dry, and golden on the top. Remove from the tin and let it cool on a wire rack until you are able to resist trying! 
I served with blueberries macerated in Mirto, and a sprinkle of icing sugar.

Calories per slice: approx 152 (carbs 27gr, sugars 16g, protein 5g)


2 Comments

GALINA · January 16, 2017 at 8:52 pm

The cake sounds fabulous. I have never cooked with tonka bean. I imagine saffron works beautifully with ricotta. I am going to bookmark this recipe to try in the future.

    pastabites · January 17, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    it’s nice and light!

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