Living La Dolce Vita

A Sicilian Lifestyle Blog

Gateau di Ricotta – this year’s showstopper of a Dolce for our Christmas table in the Strazzanti household.

Every year we try to give Emilia a break from cooking…. but somehow, she manages to sneak her way back into the kitchen! And we aren’t going to lie we can’t complain as the flavours that girl can create just take us back to those Christmas days and dinners when we still had our Grandparents around cooking for us!

There’s a tradition in our household, Mom is always keen to make sure everyone has their favourite dessert. Now – dad, Pappa Strazzanti loves a cheesecake and especially Gateau di Ricotta made with Sicilian sheep’s milk, the flavours take him back to his childhood.

Late October last year we were hanging out with The Thinking Traveller at their Villa Angheli in Menfi, where we were hosting our cooking experience, which we hope will have back on next summer! It was on this trip that Emilia was given this Gateau di Ricotta (baked cheesecake) recipe from our friends in Sicily and she understood why its Dad’s favourite and now we are sharing it with you!

The trick to this so simple to make all in one cake mix is the Ricotta; In Sicily, Pecora (sheep) milk is used predominantly over cow milk to produce Ricotta cheese like in Sardinia and it adds such unique flavour and taste to the Gateau.

You will find that in Spring the milk produced is much different to the milk produced in Autumn/winter due to variable factors including the diet of the sheep and breeding season which all leads to the different characteristics of the Ricotta.

Now where can you get this in London we hear you ask? Well, it is tricky to find 100% Sheep Ricotta but we have found at our friends at La Fromagerie they have a Ricotta cheese which is a blend of sheep and cow milk ‘Seirass’ Ricotta, it does the trick until we can get back over to our beloved Sicily. If you find this difficult to get your hands on then Neals Yard do an amazing freshly made cow Ricotta too – or any good deli hopefully will have a lovely enriched quality one but this will most likely be made with cows milk.

What will your Dolce showstopper be for Christmas this year?

Buon appetito!