Friday, March 16, 2007

Hay Hay It's Donna Day #10: Baked Ricotta Pesto Cakes


Hooray! It’s Donna Day time again and this round’s theme is cheesecake, chosen by an accomplished cheesecake-maker, Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. Aside from the basic recipe, you can browse her archives for truly amazing cheesecake recipes. And if that wasn’t enough, she posted HHDD reminders for us with absolutely stunning cheesecake photos! Don’t visit on an empty stomach…that’s all I’m going to say!

I debated on doing a sweet cheesecake, maybe something incorporating local ingredients like mango and candied pili nuts, but there was a savory cheese cake recipe that I had been wanting to try for a while. Coincidentally enough, in keeping with this event’s inspiration, it came from Donna Hay magazine (issue 29). The recipe is for Baked Ricotta Cakes and was part of a beautiful picnic spread. I was actually so taken by the whole spread and it’s very easy-going, kite-flying, kick-back-and-picnic kind of feel. I love picnics!

As I was putting everything together, admiring the pristine whiteness of the ricotta, I felt like adding another flavor dimension to the cakes. Hmmm…my head pivoted back and forth surveying my small kitchen, my nose in the air sniffing for that missing something. Ah, pesto! I had a bottle of homemade pesto in the fridge and I thought this would be perfect with the cheese.

Baked Ricotta Pesto Cakes
(recipe adapted from Baked Ricotta Cakes from Donna Hay magazine, issue 29)
  • 500 grams ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons homemade pesto
  • 2 eggs
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Place ricotta, parmesan, and pesto (2 tablespoons) in a bowl and mix to combine. Taste to see if you want to add more pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add eggs and mix well.
- Spoon mixture into greased muffin cups and bake at 160C (320F) for 40-45 minutes (but check at 30 minutes) or until golden.
- Cool in pan, and then turn out onto wire rack once cooled.


Doesn’t it all sound so deliciously simple to make? It is! Just some notes:
- The original recipe calls for 8 x ½ capacity muffin tins and to bake for 30 minutes. I used a regular muffin tin, filling 10 of the cups, and baked this for 45 minutes. There was no way they could have come out at 30 minutes…still way undercooked. Could both my oven and my oven thermometer be wrong?
- I could not turn this out of the pan when it was still warm, it was still a tad too jiggly. I turned it out when it was cool and this worked perfectly.
- The recipe says you can serve this warm or cold. I prefer it room temperature or cold.

The ricotta cakes in the magazine were served with some marinated teardrop tomatoes. I wanted to make these too (it looked so refreshing and pretty!) but unfortunately I haven’t seen any teardrop tomatoes around here. So a regular tomato salad would have to do. I just sliced a tomato, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil (the best you’ve got) and balsamic vinegar, a sprinkling of fleur de sel and freshly cracked black pepper (be generous!), and I was all set.

These little cakes are very light with a mousse-y texture. And the pesto was perfect in this, bringing that other flavor dimension that I had hoped for. I used three tablespoons and I thought that was just right. This isn’t really something I would eat solo but they are a great with salads…especially tomato salad (the pesto works there too – completing that illustrious triumvirate of basil, tomato, and cheese). These cakes are a delicious and fresh way to add the cheese component to any salad.

Thanks Peabody for being a terrific host!

31 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those cakes look wonderful! I really love pesto and ricotta...

Pille said...

Oh, these sound great! I could make a trio of savoury eggy cakes - your ricotta & pesto cakes, Molly's tuna cakes and my feta & spinach cakes:)

Melting Wok said...

joey, your d/hubby is one lucky man :) good balance with this kinda cheese bakes, scrumptious meat dishes, and his vege habits hehehe, btw, on your cabbage dish, its great :) I usually eat that when I'm on diet, cabbage is an appetite suppressant food u know ? good one eh :)

ces said...

pesto and ricotta? what could be a better combination? i am on a hungry stomach joey, how could you?

ChichaJo said...

Hi Rosa! Thank you :) I also love ricotta and pesto!

Hi Pille! Thanks! Molly's tuna cakes sound lovely, as does your feta and spinach (love that combination!) :)

Hi Melting Wok! Hehe, thanks! I had no idea cabbage is an appetite surpressant? Are you sure? Because it does not seem to work that way for me...heehee :)

Hi Ces! So sorry! Hey, you have done that to me too (make the tummy rumble) ;)

Linda said...

wow this looks sooo yum! the second photo is definitely my fav. nice work!

Susan said...

The addition of pesto is brilliant! These would make such delicious and elegant cakes for a brunch. I can't wait to try them!

Brilynn said...

I wouldn't have thought of a pesto cheesecake, but the thought of it is making my mouth water!

veron said...

your ricotta cakes looks so very yummy. Very creative with the pesto. Just reading your finishing touches with the oil, balsamic and fleur de sel makes my mouth water!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Joey!!! These are the cutest little things!! :)

Great way to take part in the event, my friend!

Meeta said...

joey! Pesto in a cheesecake how ingenious! This is certainly a wonderful recipe to bookmark.

Barbara said...

Sounds wonderful Joey. I shouldn't have visited until after lunch. Now I'm hungry. Thansk for participating.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Linda! Thanks! :)

Hi Susan! Thank you :) Brunch would be a great time to serve these!

Hi Brilynn! Hehe...yes, it's amazing what occurs to you as you are leaning over a Kitchenaid! ;)

Hi Veron! Thank you! I had made some pesto and I thought this was a good opportunity to use some of it :)

Hi Patricia! Thanks a lot! :)

Hi Meeta! Thank you :)

Hi Barbara! Thanks! And thanks as well for coming up with this great event...it's always fun to take part! :)

deinin said...

Oh, those cakes look and sound wonderful! Argh, now I'm hungry...

Franco said...

The cakes look delicious. Yummy!!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Deinin! Thanks! :) As hungry as I when I visit your blog? We're even then, heehee :)

Hi Franco! Thank you! :)

Midge said...

Hi, Joey! Those cheesecakes look so gorgeous. I daresay they'd make perfect dinner party appetizers (or a light lunch on their own).

I don't know about you, but the way they look puts me into mind of an old crustless quiche recipe I tried some time back.

Mila Tan said...

How lovely, simple, and perfect for a picnic or when you just need something light yet eggy and creamy. Plus cheese! I wonder if anyone's done one with gorgonzola then add caramelized walnuts as a side.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Midge! Thanks! :) You're right...they do look like a crustless quiche :)

Hi Mila! Oooh...gorgonzola and caramelized walnuts! YUM! Yes, I think they would be good for a picnic with their size and since they don't really have to be served warm...

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Joey, this seems really extraordinary! I would love this with a salad. I made some fresh ricotta last year that was so wonderful and did a sweet cheese cake with it. I need to try this one!!

kc said...

Hi, I hope you still remember me. Anyways, I am big fan of Donna Hay's Cook books, the cheesecake looks really yummy. I am into sweets but ricotta and pesto?hmmm, maybe i will try making one myself.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Tanna! Thanks! :) It is great with salad...Fresh homemade ricotta? Oh I must search your site for that post! I would love to try that! :)

Hi KC! Long time no hear! I'm a Donna Hay fan too :) I feel like my other cookbooks are feeling left out already! The ricotta and pesto do go well together :)

stef said...

That does sound easy to make, and looks awesome, joey! i'd love to have it atop a salad of mixed greens as the piece d'resistance:D

orange.pixie said...

Really lovely baked ricotta pesto cakes! I'm thinking of sponsoring a weekend brunch for a few friends, as soon as I get my little kitchen up and running. These cakes would make a great addition to the line up. :-)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Stef! Thanks! :) It would make a nice piece d'resistance on one of your salads I sure! What I like about it is it makes for an interesting way to include cheese and egg in a salad :)

Hi Orange Pixie! Thank you! :) A new kitchen? How exciting! Good luck with that as well as your brunch :)

Nupur said...

Oh, Joey, those look very impressive and totally drool-worthy! I love savory cakes (no sweet tooth here)!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Nupur! Thanks! :) Although I do like my share of desserts, I also like savory version of dishes usually served sweet...like cakes and tarts :)

Helene said...

These are so going on my cooking list for next sunday brunch. They would be perfect for Easter too. Great entry!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Helene! Thanks! I hope you enjoy them :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Donna,

First time I visited your site. Today I made your Ricotta Pesto Cakes exactly as you described. They are all wet on the bottom - any idea what I did wrong? Thanks

ChichaJo said...

Hi Anon! I'm not a professional cook so I'm not sure what went wrong, but when I made these they took longer to cook than the original recipe suggested to perhaps cooking a bit longer might help? Also, I tried taking them out of the pan when they were warm but they were just too jiggly...I left them in the pan to cool and it was fine. That being said, perhaps if you can manage to pop them out of the pan as soon as you can, this may help as keeping them in the pan might be building steam on their delicate bottoms :) Thanks for popping in and wish I could be more help!