Thursday, January 13, 2011

Finger Lime and Ricotta Ice Cream Cake

“You can’t put ricotta in ice-cream! That’s disgusting!” was what my dad said this morning when I told him I was going to make him ricotta ice cream for dessert. My dad is one of those people who quinces at the idea of different food combinations. He is also the man who thinks using chorizos in a stew would be a good idea and that I should make it sometime. He has however forgotten that I had made chorizo stew on numerous occasions during the cold winter nights.
I like the idea of sweet ricotta more than savoury ricotta. I much prefer traditional ricotta filled canolli to the average, custard and chocolate filled version more commonly found. I love ricotta toasties with honey and fresh berries and I would rather put a good dollop of ricotta and not yoghurt on my oatmeal. I don’t like the idea of warm, runny yoghurt.  One time I had a phase when all I wanted to eat every day of the week was fresh ricotta on fresh honey oat bread. YUM!
Recently, as mentioned on my trip to Melbourne, I had my first sample of Ricotta ice cream. It was sublime! It was creamy, sweet and because the weather was extremely hot, eaten within a few satisfying minutes. I knew I just had to create ricotta ice cream for myself.
On a later trip, last year in November, while in Sydney, I purchased a jar of Australian Finger Lime Curd. I’m one of those people who will save the best til last. I was saving the curd for a special occasion, to make mini cheese cakes and then last week I looked at the expiry date and it expires in two days! I had to use it up, and decided that I would make a cheesecake inspired ice cream using ricotta and swirls of finger lime curd. But why should I stop there? I decided to make an ice cream cake, because seriously, who can resist ice cream cake?
The end result was a tangy, creamy ice cream with a crunchy crust made of shortbread, wafers and coconut (the crust was adapted from the coconut cheesecake in Rose Levy Beranbaums Heavenly Cakes). I was a little too eager to cut into the cake so it was a little extra runny when I served it.  On that note, I recommend making the cake a day before you want to eat it and let it sit in the freezer over night.
And also, I understand that its probably difficult for most people to purchase finger lime curd, (but feel free to purchase it online here )  so if that’s not available, simply use a good quality lemon or passionfruit curd, preferably one that uses free range eggs.

Finger Lime and Ricotta Ice Cream Cake

Base Ingredients:
1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted
60g wafers (or ince cream cones)
60g shortbread biscuits
3 tbsp butter, melted

Gelato Ingredients (adapted from sassandveracity)
2 cups fresh wholemilk ricotta
2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean
1 strip each lemon and lime peel
1 cinnamon quill
5 large egg yolks
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup heavy cream

1 220g jar of finger lime or lemon curd

first, make the base. Grease and line with baking paper a 20cm round springform pan. process all dry ingredients in a food proccessor until fine crumbs and than pour in the melted butter and pulse a few times. Pour the crumb mixture into the cake pan and press onto the bottom. Using your fingers press the crumbs towards the side of the pan, about 1 inch high, to form an even layer. cover with cling wrap and set in the fridge.

Then, make the ice cream according to the recipe on this recipe here. But when you are heating the milk for the first time, infuse it with the lemon and lime peel and cinnamon stick and remove along with the vanilla bean, according to the recipe.

When the ice cream has finished churning, take the base out of the fridge. Pour half of the ice cream into the tin and then top with the whole jar of finger lime or lemon curd. Top the rest of the cake off with the ice cream and then place in the freezer for more than 4 hours or overnight to firm.

To remove the cake from the tin, place the cake on a plate, ready for serving. Then immerse a tea towel in boiling water and  hold the tea towel around the tin for about 1 minute. Carefully pull the tin away from the cake and place back in the freezer for 10 minutes. cut into slices and serve with fresh berries or prefered fruit.

note: you may find that you have leftover ice cream that won't fit in the cake tin, so i suggest doing what most people would do in the situation of leftovers, EAT IT!

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