This is a beautiful, if slightly unusual, flourless cake using whole kernel farro. The farro adds a wonderful chewiness and the ricotta a creaminess that can't be beat. Serve this to your foodie friends with a small scoop of vanilla gelato and a cup of espresso and prepare for the accolades.
Italian Farro, Ricotta & Orange Cake
Recipe by Michelle Abendschan of Je Mange la Ville
Makes 8-10 servings
- 1 cup Farro
- 2 cups 2% Milk
- 1 strip Lemon Zest
- 1 Cardamom Pod (or 1/8 tsp ground Cardamom)
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 cup Ricotta Cheese
- 4 Eggs, divided
- Zest of 1 Orange, divided
- 1/4 cup Golden Raisins
- 2 Tbsp Orange Liqueur
Rinse farro briefly with cool water, drain, and then add to 3 cups boiling water. Reduce heat to low and then simmer until farro is soft, about 25 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Add milk, sugar, lemon zest, and cardamom to a pot (can be the same pot used earlier) and bring to a simmer. Add farro and cook, stirring occasionally, until farro mixture is thick and resembles pudding, about 35-45 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt and remove cardamom pod (if used). Let cool.
Add ricotta, egg yolks, raisins, liqueur, and the zest from about three-quarters of the orange to the cooled farro mixture. In a stand mixer, beat egg whites until stiff. Add half the egg whites to the farro, just mixing in to lighten the batter. Gently fold the remaining egg whites in, trying not to deflate them too much.
Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a baking dish by coating a 10" round cake pan with nonstick spray and covering the bottom with a circular piece of parchment paper.
Add batter to prepared cake pan and spread the top out evenly. Bake in the center of the oven 45-50 minutes, until top of cake is golden brown and edges are just starting to pull away in spots. Let cool about 15 minutes in the pan.
To remove: run a knife around the edges of the cake pan. Put a plate upside down on the top of the cake and flip over. Remove cake pan. Then, using the plate you want to serve from, put that on top of the upside down cake and flip again, so that the cake is right side up, on the serving plate.
Use a fine mesh strainer to sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of the cake, along with the remaining zest from the orange. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.