Don't be intimidated by the word souffle. All you do here is fold fluffy, beaten egg whites into sweetened ricotta and, magically, the cake rises and swells like a souffle. Served straight from the oven, the cake is elegant and light as a feather, each bite melting onto the tongue. As it cools, it deflates and becomes dense and moist, and slightly more rustic in texture.
Obviously, the cheese is a very important component in this dessert. Please visit Corrieri's Formaggeria in the 12th South district here in Nashville for your cheese. You can also buy your amaretti cookies there, along with any other Italian specialty items that tickle your fancy. You will not be disappointed, and you will be supporting a great local business.
- 3 pairs (6 individual) amaretti cookies, crushed
- 12 ounces ricotta
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup ground peeled almonds (see note)
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 5 egg whites
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 6 inch souffle dish and line with amaretti crumbs. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, sugar, almonds and lemon zest. Stir until creamy and well incorporated. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until firm. With a spatula, carefully fold the ricotta mixture into the egg whites a little at a time. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Note: Grind the almonds in a nut grinder, coffee grinder or blender.