This traditional, elegant Italian dessert – ricotta al caffe – is so amazingly simple that I’m almost embarrassed to give you a recipe for it. However, it’s useful to have one on hand for days when you’ve spent hours slaving over a hot stove and are looking for an easy, fuss-free, but still satisfyingly indulgent dessert.
For best results, buy top quality, freshest ingredients you can find. Buy the ricotta from a speciality cheese shop, Italian deli or the supermarket fresh cheese counter – you really will be able to taste the difference. The coffee beans – or freshly ground coffee – could come from your local coffee shop. Serves 4.
10 oz/ 250g very fresh ricotta cheese
4 oz/ 100g white or light golden brown caster sugar
2 tablespoons finely ground fresh espresso coffee beans
2 tablespoons dark rum or brandy (optional)
A few drops natural vanilla extract
2 tablespoons toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped (optional)
Double or whipped cream
1. Remove any excess water from the ricotta. Sieve in a colander or through a piece of muslin (cheesecloth) if necessary.
2. Add the sugar, ground coffee, rum/ brandy, and vanilla extract. Mix well.
3. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours for the flavours to develop. The longer you leave it, the stronger will be the flavour.
4. Sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts, if using. Serve with cream and biscotti in little coffee cups. See, I told you it was simple!