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Test Kitchen: Migliaccio (Lemon Ricotta Cake) 

Recipe for Migliaccio (Lemon Ricotta Cake) from NYT Magazine, February 22 2015

I love to cook almost more than I love to eat, and I can often be found pulling recipes from the pages of my many magazines. The recipe for this Lemon Ricotta Cake, known by its Italian name, Migliaccio, is one that I have had in my stack for a few months.

When my local coffee shop proprietor placed a box of Meyer lemons out for customers that she picked from her tree in the courtyard, I grabbed a couple and knew how I could use them. This recipe calls for the zest of two large lemons.

Recipe to follow, and my comments after:

Yields: 12 servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 quart whole organic milk
1 3/4 cups semolina (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 large lemons
4 large organic eggs
1 lb (2 cups) fresh ricotta cheese, strained
Confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling
1 cup raspberry jam
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

For the cake:
1) Preheat oven to 325 (F). Butter 11 inch round cake pan.
2) Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering, then whisk in the semolina and salt. Boil, stirring constantly, for two minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the sugar and butter until combined. Transfer the batter to a bowl to cool it down to warm, stirring frequently to prevent a skin from forming.
3) Zest the lemons, using only the yellow part, and stir into the batter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly, until all the eggs are combined. Next, mix in the ricotta cheese. There will be some lumps, so keep stirring, and folding, until it is all mixed in.
4) Pour batter into the pan, and bake until set and golden in places, about one hour. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool, and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar while still hot (use a sieve). Once the cake has cooled, sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar once more, then serve.

For the raspberry sauce:
1) Whisk the raspberry jam and lemon juice over medium heat until combined. Pour over individual servings of cake.

My Notes:
I would call it a Semolina Lemon Cake, because of the texture and flavor. It has a nice density while remaining moist. I would add more lemon, for my particular taste. And, in the future I will experiment with using less semolina. The Bob’s Red Mill Semolina is very fresh and has a distinctive richness. In addition to the raspberry sauce I used a dollop of freshly whipped cream as a delicious topping!

Buon Appetito!

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Nancy Garvin

Editor in Chief at Well Produced Food & Wine
Nancy is the founder and chief editor of Well Produced Foods and Wines. She has had a flourishing career in food and wine for 3 decades (remember aspics?).