Eyeing A Lava Recipe!
Yes, it’s true: my “52 In 22” cooking challenge is working with volcanic ash and lava!
There’s much to share, so let’s begin with this: a few weeks ago I shared this photo showing the cookbooks I’d be using for weeks #31-40:
As you can see, there are only 9 cookbooks shown plus on the left, plus a bottle of wine – well, here’s why:
The recipe I am going to make comes from this terrific cookbook – which I saw on Italy’s island of Sicily – but had no room to carry it home with me!
My wife Alex and I visited Planeta winery over the summer – AFTER we hiked to the top of Mt. Etna, the most active volcano in Europe! Based on the feast we had there, I copied the recipe so I could cook it when I got back home.
We loved their wines, like this one, named for the mountain that looms above the winery:
The grape varietal is called “Carricante” – a chardonnay style grape with much minerality – thanks to the lava, which I’ll explain later.
Baking A Sicilian Ricotta Tart – A “Cassatedde!”
This is how the cookbook refers to the dish, which is a tradition tart filled with sweetened ricotta cheese.
Here are the ingredients for the crust:
2 lb. 2 ox. flour
3-1/2 oz. lard or butter
3-1/2 oz. sugar
1 glas lukewarm water
salt to taste
Combine all of the ingredients on a wooden board, using the lukewarm water gradually to incorporate everything, like this:
Knead vigorously until you have a ball of dough like this:
Place the ball in plastic wrap and let rest for two hours.
Now, onto the filling – here are your ingredients:
1 pound 12 oz. sheets’ milk rocotta
7 oz. confectioner’s sugar
Pass the ricotta through a fine strainer if needed. Lightly beat the eggs and sugar and then add the ricotta in, blending well.
After resting for 2 hours, place your dough on a slightly floured work surface and roll it out until thin. Here’s how I did it:
Oh, and I truly apologize – I had no idea my two top shirt buttons were undone while I was filming this!
Well, it WAS 90 degrees out when I was baking – a lame excuse but an excuse nonetheless!
Once rolled out, the recipe calls for a cookie cutter to make a round disk, but I used a knife.
Make several round discs 4 in. in diameter.
Pinch the edges to form a decorative ridge to hold in the ricotta mixture – or do what I did – which was to put the dough into a mold.
Then just pour your ricotta mixture in and spread the ricotta evenly in each tart.
Heat oven to 400 degree and bake for 15-20 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Here’s how I did it:
Lightly sprinkle with cinnamon, pour a glass of wine and enjoy!
The tart was very flavorful: the smoothness of the ricotta is aided by a pop of sugar in the mixture, and the cinnamon offers a savory balance…it’s very must a custard-like consistency, and it tastes really good – not too sweet!
This recipe came from the Planeta winery cookbook – where we got to taste their delicious Sicilian wines!
We had an amazing wine tasting at the winery, which included a terrific lunch spread as well!
This classic winery and vineyard is located just below Mt. Etna, and you drive small country roads for while until it reveals itself:
The winery lays out where their grapes are grown, and what kind of soil is there – including lots of volcanic ash!
We were served all sorts of dishes like mortadella, cheeses, along with a ratatouille and classic sicilian meatballs!
This incredible feast was much appreciated since it happened after we climbed Mt. Etna!
We also toured the lower region, where dried lava is literally in front of you!
So what did we do? Climb inside a lava cave of course!
What a wild trip this was!
You can see it all by clicking here:
Going inside a lava cave was one thing, but climbing to the top of the mountain was another!
Yes, that’s us right across from the smoldering volcano – see how we were able to go up Mt. Etna by clicking here:
We loved Sicily, which is an island that is part of Italy…and I have cooked Italian food all year long as part of my “52 In 22” cooking challenge:
I made a traditional “Sunday Gravy” thanks to a “Sopranos” cookbook and you can see the delicious recipe by clicking here:
Stanely Tucci taught me something ab out serving this dish, so I mad this Mom’s family Cacciatore as well!
You can see the recipe and much more here:
Back to Stanley Tucci: you may know that I became obsessed with a dish he cooked on his CNN travel series.
I made “Spaghetti alla Nerano” with some added “Zoodles” as well – click here for this amazingly delicious recipe!
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