Though once dominated by British culinary tastes, Australian cuisine is now influenced by a variety of Mediterranean and Asian foods introduced by immigrant cultures. Many people living outside of Australia think of native Bush Tucker when they contemplate Australian food, but Southeast Asian, Greek, Lebanese and Italian influences are now more common.
This ricotta is easier to turn out and slice when it is cold, so you can bake it the day before you wish to serve it, slice it when it is cold and then let it come to room temperature. It is best made in a nonstick loaf tin, 25 cm (10 in) long, 5 cm (2 in) wide and 7.5 cm (3 in) deep. The baked ricotta is also delicious served with fresh fruits.
To bake the ricotta, preheat the oven to 150 degrees C (300 degrees F). In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta and the eggs. Split the vanilla bean and scrape in the seeds. Sift in the icing sugar and mix thoroughly. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the loaf tin and cover with aluminum kitchen foil. Place the tin into a slightly larger baking pan and pour in enough water to come about half-way up the side of the loaf tin. Carefully place the baking pan in the oven. Bake the ricotta for 40 minutes, or until firm.
When the ricotta is ready, remove the loaf tin from the water bath and remove the foil. Let the ricotta cool, then cover it with plastic wrap (cling film) and refrigerate. When it is thoroughly cold you can turn it out of the tin and slice it as required. It will have more flavour if you allow it to warm to room temperature before serving it.
To glaze the peaches, preheat the griller (broiler) to hot. Halve the peaches and remove the skins if desired. Sprinkle with the extra icing sugar and place under the griller until the sugar is caramelised, about 2-5 minutes.
To serve, arrange ricotta slices and two peach halves on each plate.
A Taste of Australia: The Bather's Pavilion Cookbook
By Victoria Alexander and Genevieve Harris
Photographs by Rodney Weidland
Ten Speed Press
122 pages, full-color photography throughout
Reprinted with permission
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This page modified January 2007
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