With the multi-course take-your-breath-away feast of Ferragosto on the doorstep, it’s time to find an Abruzzo peach of a dessert that’s not only delicious but will also slip down easily after the previous courses’ excess on a hot August day; Sformato di Ricotta con le pesche meets this challenge perfectly.
I use soft, ripe, drip-on-your-chin peaches as one of my unofficial counters for the start of summer… lots come by even in Abruzzo, hard as nails in June from Sicily and imported from Spain & Northern Africa. By the time the white ones used to make a Bellini and those gorgeous flat bottomed Saturn lovelies start arriving you know to shy away from giving them a gentle squeeze at market without encountering a withering “look but don’t touch” scowl. Despite the heavy rains at the time of blossoms, in our village Bascianella it is the peach trees that are laden and bountiful this year rather than last year’s apples and plums. Their rosiness against the soft light of an early morn is a view almost as wonderful as the mountains for starting the day and we all need rose coloured spectacles sometimes.
As there’s no holding back on Ferragosto, the day that celebrates all the hard work of the last 6 months and the various harvests, this peach dessert’s cooling mint & ricotta base also works as an aid to counter Ferragosto indigestion so you can remain feeling pretty as a peach! Thank you Abruzzo Cibus for showing how to make this on our 1-day Abruzzo cooking course!
Sformato di Ricotta con le Pesche – (Ricotta with Marinated Peaches)
500g creamy fresh ricotta
Zest of 1 large un-waxed organic lemon and/or orange
4 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
2 -3 tbsp of honey
Combine in a small bowl the above ingredients. Cover and refrigerate.
500g fresh, mature peaches, peeled and sliced
1 small bottle of apricot nectar (undiluted apricot juice)
In a non-metal bowl add the sliced peaches. Add the apricot nectar
Cover and set aside in the refrigerator to chill until ready to serve.
If available lightly oil (vegetable oil) a metal pastry ring or smooth round cookie cutter (7cm/3½”). Place in the centre of a dessert plate. Spoon in the ricotta and lightly press with a spoon. Add more ricotta to fill ring to the top. Press again with a spoon to make compact. Carefully lift the ring making sure the ricotta retains its form.
Spoon the marinated peaches over the top.
Garnish with a nice sprig of mint leaves.
Serves 4 – 6