Thursday, 21 March 2013

Ciambelline Pasquali alla Ricotta (Ricotta Ring Cakes for Easter)



It was a hot Summer's night and she sat outside with her sister... the sky was so deep and dark ... so many stars, so many sounds... familiar sounds of a past life filled the Italian night.



A sudden breeze brought the scent of waves and seaweed. As she closed her eyes, she smelt freesias... sweet scented freesias... that scent was there, again...
"Did you smell that?"- she asked her sister "Yes, I did... it's her scent!" Was she there with us? I don't know, but I felt love all around.



My mother smelt of freesias, her lips were as red as tulips and her eyes as silver as a deep lake. I liked to think that she had come to "visit."








She loved Spring. In Spring, our house was filled with the scent of almond blossom, tulips and freesias. When she opened the windows, every morning, a sea of multicoloured anemoni ran through the house, whilst the swallows sang a beautiful love song and I imagined ancient olive trees running towards the sea, as the wind bent and chased them. I knew it had done that for hundreds of years...



Our mother brought scent, beauty and colour in our lives... she brought sun, she brought life and love. She had a wonderful smile...



She loved Spring and blue skies, most of all. I believed my mother "was" Spring. We lived in the city, but our mother always brought us gifts which told stories about the sea and the countryside.



Spring didn't last very long, in Italy, as the weather suddenly got so hot, you went straight into Summer.
I knew it was Spring, as our house was filled not just with flowers, but also with lots of culinary "joys": silvery green artichokes, zucchine flowers, bright green peas still in the pod and... ricotta! When I say ricotta, I don't mean a tiny, little ricotta, but something which could weigh up to 1 kg! Beautiful, creamy, white, soft ricotta...



At Easter, we made "Pizza di Ricotta" a lattice pie, filled with a sweet filling of ricotta, egg, sugar, vanilla and lemon peel. We also had "ricotta fritta" slices of ricotta, dipped in flour, then beaten egg, just simply fried and dipped in lots of sugar (Spring delight, believe me!)



My mum made the loveliest soft biscuits, or were they cakes (?) using ricotta as one of the main ingredients.  I found the recipe and decided to make the little cakes. This is how I made them: 




Ciambelline Pasquali alla Ricotta

(Ricotta Ring Cakes for Easter)

Ingredients:
(makes 18-20 ciambelline)
300 g (10 oz) ricotta
400 g (14 oz)plain flour
100 g (5 oz) caster sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
the rind of 1 lemon
a few drops of vanilla essence
some extra caster sugar
icing sugar 

Preheat your oven (180 C , 350F, Gas 4 )

Place your ricotta in a bowl and, with help of a fork, mix it, till it reaches a creamy consistency. Set aside.








Put the flour on a surface or a large pastry board, and make a well in the middle.  Add your caster sugar, eggs lemon peel, vanilla, baking powder and carefully incorporate. If the mixture is too liquid, add more flour.



Your dough should be solid, but soft, at the same time. Cover the dough and leave to rest for half an hour. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and wait... 



Half an hour later...
Make your dough into a big cylinder shape, then start making your ciambelle. Cut the dough into slices, about 2 cm wide, roll each one into a thin "sausage" shape, join the two ends, to form a round "ciambella" (a circle) and... that's it... your first one is done! To make the cake look prettier, as it cooks, you can, like I did, make a few incisions into the dough, with a knife. 







I managed to make eighteen ciambelline. In fact, I made ciambelline and a few knot shaped little cakes, by simply using the "sausage" to make a knot.
Each of my ciambelline and knots were dipped in some caster sugar I had set aside on a plate, and then placed on greaseproof paper, on a baking tray.









The cakes only took about twenty minutes to cook.








 Once out of the oven, I let them cool down, then decided they would look prettier if I sifted some icing sugar all over them. And they did!





38 comments:

  1. I adore your beautifully poetic description of your mother and springtime, Anna. You have a gorgeous way with words.
    As for your ciambelline, well they look so delicious that I am off to the shops to get a po 'di ricotta to try them out for myself right this very minute.
    I cannot promise that they will be as good as yours but I am pretty sure they will be sampled long before they have time to cool down.
    Mangia bene Principessa Anna!
    Paul x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Paul! So funny, when you say:"Ma gia bene, Principessa!" you sound a bit like Beningni in the film "Life is Beautiful" "La Vita E' Bella" where he calls his wife "Principessa!" "Buongiorno, Principessa!" Seen the movie? If not, please do. It's wonderful (Oscar winner)

      Thank you for the compliments. I love writing and also write poetry.

      Make my ciambelline... they are deliciously dangerous (you can't stop eating them!) and very easy to make!

      Buona giornata!

      ANNa
      x

      Delete
  2. I love your stories!!! They make look south of italy an amazing magical place!I hope I'll be able to move back there eventually and enjoy the countryside, the sea and the garden like you do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ciao e bentornata, o... ben arrivata in America! Sei in Florida, vero? Ho cercato di aprire il tuo post sul Curry, ma mi diceva che il post non esiste.

      Io avrò delle notizie, non appena mio marito tornerà dalla casa a New York... vedrai...

      BUONA FORTUNA nella tua nuova vita. Spero che ti piaccia!

      A presto sul tuo blog!

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  3. Ciao Anna! Non ti nascondo che il ricordo e la storia con la tua mamma mi ha emozionato. Doveva essere una persona molto particolare e dolce. È molto bello che i figli ereditano le qualità e le belle passioni dei genitori. Le cose vissute a casa sono preziose e ci marcano per sempre. Tu sei molto brava di continuare le tradizioni familiari . Le tue ricette sono ottime perché provengono dalla pratica di persone che si erano date a quello che facevano. GRAZIE!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ciao a te! Mi piace tanto ricordare e far rivivere mia madre. E' così viva, per noi... sento ancora la sua risata argentina e la vedo ballare con mio padre. Sono stata molto fortunata ad avere due genitori tanto meravigliosi.

      Mi piace continuare la tradizione, però mi piace anche innovare e provare cose nuove che mia madre non avrebbe mai immaginato... una volta avute le importanti basi della cucina italiana classica, si può anche sperimentare con diversi abbinamenti. La trdizione, però, è necessaria.

      Grazie a te per il bel commento in italiano!

      CIAO!

      ANNA

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. 180C. I think I mentioned it in the post!

      CIAO!

      ANNA

      Delete
    2. Yes you did, silly me! They are delicious Anna. Would go wonderfully with a nice italian coffee. Heres an image of my attempt https://twitter.com/MagicalWreaths. xx

      Delete
    3. I saw them! Thank you and very well done! They look great! I'm so glad my recipe was actually used!

      You might also like to try my other ciambelline recipe. Type Ciambelline di Patate in my blog Search. Delicious, though fried, but well worth the calories. Quotation: "I never met a calory I didn't like!"

      ANNA x

      Delete
    4. Correction: Check out Ciambelline di Farina e Patate.

      ANNA

      Delete
  5. You are so lucky to have those memories...I think moms are incredibly special...always beautiful and smell nice and everything they touch becomes delicious .... I think you have taken after her..I know from your recipes...sending you love and thank you for the recipe xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello to you and the beautiful cat boys!

      I think I have a lot of my mother (though she was a brunette and I am blond like my dad!)you are right and, like her, I love singing, only, she did it quietly, whereas I do nothing quietly... if I sing, I SING!

      I still have memories of falling asleep in my mother's arms, you know? I remember the sscent of her beautiful skin and this gold chain she used to wear, with a pendant representing the Virgin Mary and the baby. It used to dangle between her breast and now... it's mine! She gave it to me when my Babbo died.

      I'm so glad I can celebrate her and part of what she taught me, through this happy, colourful little blog!

      LOVE TO YOU AND KITTIES!

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  6. Dear Anna,
    your description of your mother is so full of love.
    So enjoy the coming spring thinking of your wonderful mother!

    The recipe is just as well.

    ♥ Franka

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello dear Franka!

      I will enjoy Spring, when it comes. For the time being, I can only dream of past Springs--- hoping it get warm very soon!

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  7. Hi Anna,
    Your memories of your childhood and your mother make me smile. You have a lovely way with words : )
    I adore the Spring too. I only wish it lasted longer. Usually we have a few warm weeks and then it jumps right into summer. We'll see what happens this year....
    Your ciambelline look delightful! My husband's nonna used to make something similar and they were so delicious! I will definitly try your recipe. Perfect for Easter and Springtime!

    Danielle xo

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello Danielle. I see from your surname that your husband's family must have been Italian! If hehad a "nonna," then... there must have been an Italian connection-

    At Easter we buy sweet egg taralli, which are usually covered in white icing. They are slightly sweet (as they are often iced) and very special. They come in different sizes and some are really huge.

    My ciambelline would probably taste delicious if iced and I will try... only, these are soft and not crunchy, like the taralli you buy in Italy.

    They are very easy to make and I will make more to be iced with icing in pastel shades.

    Try the recipe and HAPPY SPRING! A short Spring followed by hot weather would suit me pefectly!

    BUONA GIORNATA!

    ANNA
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. Belli e commoventi i tuoi ricordi, Anna.
    Mi piace come scrivi, tua mamma dev'essere
    stata una persona speciale!!
    Love Susy x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ciao... buonasera (imitazione del Papa!)
      Mi fa tanto piacere sentire che ti piace come scrivo. E' una delle mie più grandi passioni.

      Sai, ho sempre apprezzato mia madre e l'ho amata tanto, ma ancor di più, dopo che ci ha lasciati. I ricordi sono così vivi, che a volte non mi rendo conto che è andata via.

      penso che tutte le mamme sono speciali per i figli... è il "lavoro" più bello, anche se a volte non apprezzato.

      Ciao Susy... buon fine settimana!

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  10. Loving this recipe Anna..
    I must have a try. Maybe more towards Easter , when the grandchildren are here.
    I would eat them all , if i made them for me.
    A beautiful story of you and your sister recollecting how your home was when you were a child.
    I close my eyes after reading..and can see the beautiful fields of Italy.. It also reminds me of our summers here. I cant wait.
    Happy weekend
    love val x x x x

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello Val!

    I was just talking to my sister about our parents and remembering all the happy times, when we were all together. If only we had realized how happy we were and how lucky to have parents who loved each other and loved us... Dear Val, every Sunday lunch, we'd all end up singing round the table! What a noise!

    Val, life in England has taught me how to appreciate the countryside, more. When I am in Italy, I now look at and appreciate the countryside. I love the mountains and the scent of the wild herbs which grow on them, when I am in Campania (not too far from Amalfi-you can see the island of Capri from our house.)

    When I am in my native Puglia, I now love every stone, every little bit of earth... I love the never ending vinyards, with millions of bunches of grapes, getting sweeter and riper, as the sun gets hotter. I love the smell of chamomille and of rocket growing wild. But, most of all, I love the smell of seaweed, from my Adriatic, the cleanest sea in the whole of Itay. I LOVE IT!

    Next week I'm making "Scarcelle" a kind of big Easter biscuit our mum used to make for us (one each-they are really big!) I never made them before, but this year I will and I'll post pics and recipe. I just need to find some white shelled eggs (In England they like brown eggs.)

    I can't wait for my Summer, either... it's snowing here, today. Can you believe it, Val?

    HAPPY WEEKEND...

    ANNA
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hallo dear Anne!
    You have so beautiful memories from your mother!
    What can i say about your amazing Ricotta Ring Cakes for Easter!!Great work!!
    I'm sure with the ricotta cheece the taste must be wonderful!!They look like the cookies we do for easter,but without ricotta!Same shapes!!
    Hope you have a lovely weekend!!
    Dimi..(And of course i vote for you!!Good luck!!!)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Dimi!

    Wait till you see my next post: Easter (big) biscuits, which I think they make in Greece, too, for Easter. Typical of Puglia.

    I think that using ricotta, instead of butter, or fat, in these cakes, makes them lighter, more delicate and healthier- We also have "Taralli all'uovo" for Easter... they rings, big or small, sweet and very crunchy. They sometimes are covered in white icing and very good!

    HAPPY WEEKEND! It's freezing here!

    Hugs

    ANNA
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  14. ciao carissima grazie per essere passata dai metti sopra il caffè che faccio un salto per assagiarliiiiii buna domenica

    ReplyDelete
  15. Il caffè va bene ad ogni ora! Adesso me ne preparo uno! Buona settimana, Giovanna!

    Anna

    ReplyDelete
  16. Il caffè va bene ad ogni ora! Adesso me ne preparo uno! Buona settimana, Giovanna!

    Anna

    ReplyDelete
  17. Il caffè va bene ad ogni ora! Adesso me ne preparo uno! Buona settimana, Giovanna!

    Anna

    ReplyDelete
  18. You always write the prettiest of stories accompanying your recipes Anna! A joy to read!

    Have a lovely week,

    Madelief x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Madelief! I'm glad that the stories are read, as I love telling you about my life in Italy!

      A lovely week to you, too!

      ANNA
      x

      Delete
  19. Ciaoooooo carissima,mmmmmm devono essere deliziose queste ciambelle!!
    Complimenti anche per il racconto!!;D
    Un bacione cara e Buona Pasqua a te e alla tua famiglia!!
    Sabry!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ciao Sabry!
      Scusa per il ritardo nel risponderti, ma il computer è stato affetto da un virus. Finalmente funziona tutto!

      Felice Pasqua a te e i tuoi... io sono già pronta per il mio pranzo pasquale...

      Tanti, tanti abbracci, carissima! Fatti risentire!

      CIAO!

      ANNA

      Delete
  20. Hello Anna, I'm touced by your words about your mother. The smell of freezies always make me think of my mother. She loved the freezies. It is so good to have those memories about our mothers, isn't it? I'm just sorry that I cannot tell my mother how much I love her because she made my childhood and my life so happy.

    Thank you for a fine recipe.

    Happy Easter!
    Grethe ´)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Grethe!
      I feel so lucky and happy to have had wonderful parents and a lovely family. When we get together, though our parents have left us, we happy such a wonderful time! our get togethers usually end with all of us singing round the table (it's wonderful!) and sometimes dancing. We used to do this at home, every Sunday.

      I am glad I reminded you of your mum. Happy Easter... like the pope said the other day "We shouldn't be ashamed of love and tendernes..."

      HUGS

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  21. Que, na Páscoa, nossa fé seja revigorada pela
    certeza de que Cristo ressuscitou e está entre nós.
    O sentimento de Páscoa não termina,
    ele sinaliza um novo começo da primavera
    e a vida marca nossa amizade.
    Feliz Páscoa Deus abençoe
    tremendamente sua vida.
    Beijos na alma carinhos no coração.
    Evanir..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Buona Pasqua. Grazie per il messaggio di pace e amore. Ci è stato "inviato" un Papa meraviglioso, Francesco, un miracolo, che diffonde un messaggio di amore per il mondo e tutto il creato. E' rinata anche in me la speranza.

      BUONA PASQUA

      ANNA

      Delete
  22. I like the description and the memories of your mother..
    Happy Easter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good afternoon, Maria!

      ... and a HAPPY EASTER to you, too! The sun was shining this morning and I felt happy. I'm sure it's sunny and warm where you are!

      Enjoy the holidays!

      My mother would smile, if could read my blog!

      CIAO!

      ANNA

      xx

      Delete