The biscuits (cookies) used in this recipe can be good-quality store-bought ones, or they can be homemade. Remember that the flavours of poached peach and ricotta cream are delicate, so choose biscuits that are delicately flavoured, such as vanilla, lemon or orange. The peach and ricotta cream can also be used to fill cannoli or to layer vanilla sponge.
- 4 peaches
- 1 vanilla bean
- 200 g (7 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 50 ml (1¾ fl oz) thin (pouring) cream
- 100 g (3½ oz) fresh ricotta cheese
- 16 biscuits (cookies), around 4–5 cm (1½–2 in) diameter
- icing (confectioner's) sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
WINE Sparkling Malvasia Rosa
Put the peaches in a wide saucepan so they fit in 1 layer. Add enough water to comfortably submerge the peaches when they are pushed down. Remove the peaches and set aside.
Split the vanilla bean lengthways, scrape the seeds from each half and put both pod and seeds in the water. Add ¾ of the sugar. Bring the water to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the peaches and put a small plate on them to keep them under the liquid. Simmer for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and, keeping the plate on the peaches, allow them to cool in the liquid.
Meanwhile, whip the cream and the remaining sugar to soft peaks, then fold into the ricotta.
Once the peaches are cool, remove their skins. Cut the flesh of 2 peaches into small cubes and fold into the ricotta cream. Quarter 2 more peaches and cut into slices. Spoon a generous amount of ricotta cream onto each biscuit, add some slices of poached peach and top with another biscuit. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
Recipe and image from Stefano Manfredi's Italian Food, Stefano Manfredi (Allen & Unwin, $59.99, hbk)