We had limes, we had fresh cream, and had even found sweetened condensed milk: Key lime pie was the idea, but plans changed, and we made a simple ice cream instead. Much as I love dessert, we cannot eat a whole pie in the time remaining before departure… but what remains of this ice cream will keep. Adapted from food52: The best lime icecream, which looks lovely. However, we needed to save some limes for that pie, which will be after the upcoming holiday. Thus, we used half lemon and half lime, with a bit less sugar and more zest than the original recipe, so it’s quite tart.
Easy lemon-lime ice cream
Two limes: juice and zest (about 75 ml juice)
One lemon: juice and zest
500 ml cream
1/2 cup sugar
Zest and juice limes and lemons. It will smell amazing! Combine all ingredients, and freeze in an ice cream maker if you have one. I just used a wide, shallow plastic container. Stir with a fork once an hour the first few hours while freezing, it helps give a more even structure and breaks up any larger ice crystals. Notes: it froze rock hard, but melts quickly once out of freezer, as you can see, so best not to leave it out too long. I might add a splash of vodka to keep it softer another time. Being used to milk-based gelato or yoghurt-based icecreams, I thought the cream here was a little heavy, but my husband thought this was great as it was. A little scoop is plenty. Easy dessert on a hot summer evening.
I had made a tasty but rather homely cherry clafoutis. For the detailed recipe, see The Observer, Sunday 26 June 2011: Nigel Slater’s classic cherry clafoutis. I thought the last clafoutis was a little flat, but that might may well been the 00 flour. So I this time I added a bit of baking powder, and a bit less sugar, and it was gorgeous.
A golden clafoutis with apricots
8-10 apricots, stoned and halved (about 350-400 grammes)
50g of plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
150ml of milk
a splash of Amaretto, optional
20g of melted butter
Preheat the oven to 180C and butter your dish. Layer the apricots in with the cut side up, and pour over a splash of Amaretto, if you like that. Just enough for a little on each apricot half. Whisk together all the other ingredients to a smooth batter, and pour it over the apricots. Bake until the clafoutis is golden and puffed up. Sprinkle with icing sugar, and eat warm or cold.
A friend mentioned how his building is emptying out now, as people leave for their other houses by the sea or in the mountains. Not that the neighbours there talk much, he said; only the maids and nannies chat much. Well, he does live in a much posher area in Rome than we do; our scala (stairwell) certainly has no maids or nannies, and there is no exodus here yet. The tabacchi has closed for the month, but most shops are still open. It will get quiet around Ferragosta (15 August), but it is still lively here. Across the street, I can look into a kitchen where the extended family is having dinner, with the grandfather in his undershirt, as usual. It is a muggy evening, but there is laundry out all over, dinner being made, and windows opening to catch some evening air. Ah, summer….. And a simple cherry cake.
Cherry ricotta cake (makes two small loaves)
200 g sugar
250 g ricotta
90 g softened butter
240 g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
300-350 g cherries
Heat the oven to 180C. Line two small loaf tins with baking paper. Wash, stone and halve the cherries. In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar, then add ricotta and softened butter. Add dry ingredients, and stir together. Scoop a third of the batter in (it will be thick), and layer half the halved cherries in. Scoop in another third of the batter, and top with the remaining cherries, before finishing with the last third of batter. No need to measure this, just approximate it. Bake at 180C for 55-60 minutes, until it is golden on top and looks done. Cool before slicing.
Notes: you could easily make this in a bigger round tin, or one big loaf tin: just adjust baking times. Nice flavour from the the cherries, which all migrated to one layer in the cake. So you could probably put it all in together and still have a nice result.