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Cassatta Siciliana Americana -lauraw October 16, 2010

Posted by anycomments in Food, Sex, Stupid shit.

Hubby told me that at the TX meetup a couple weeks ago, the Michaels fed everybody so well that few people partook of dessert. So I don’t know how many of you tasted the cake, but was told that Alice requested the recipe.

The original Italian recipe features fewer, thicker cake layers, and candied cherries and chocolate chips and citron and crap like that in it. I modified this recipe when I was a teenager, throwing out all that unnecessary filler junk and just focusing on jamming thin layers of cake with as much sweet ricotta filling as possible.
It has become a traditional part of my family’s holiday table, and if I show up to Christmas without it, that’s a beatin’.

It’s a super-easy recipe to do, but requires a lot of refrigerator time. It is best to make it a few days ahead of your event.

This makes one small cake. If you want two large cakes (which is what I usually produce), triple the filling, double the frosting, and use two LARGE Sara Lee pound cakes instead of one small one.

1 lb. ricotta cheese
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
3 Tbsp. Grand Marnier*

In a deep bowl, beat together the ricotta and sugar for two minutes, until the texture is nearly completely smooth. Beat in the cream and liqueur until well incorporated. Cover cream tightly and set in refrigerator.

1 small Sara Lee pound cake from the grocery store freezer.

Don’t be a hero about doing it all homemade. You probably can’t make a finer-textured cheesecake than this. It can be sliced into exceedingly thin layers, which is what we want. I aim for 1/8″ thickness.
Thaw the pound cake, set it on a cutting sheet, slice off and discard the brown crusts, then use either a piece of sewing thread or a very-very thin knife to cut the cake in as many layers as you can. I try for nine, but sometimes  end up with seven or ten. The key is to spin the cake 180 degrees after each cut to correct for the natural arc of your arm which will otherwise cause one edge of the cake to be thicker than the other.

By spinning the cake 1/2 a turn between each slice, you are more likely to end up with many thin layers instead of just three layers and a useless-shaped wedge of cake, heh.

Place the thickest slice of cake on a plate. Drop a couple dollops of the ricotta cream on it and spread it to within 1/4 inch of the edge of the cake layer. Carefully top with another layer of cake and repeat through all the layers. End with a piece of cake on top, not cream. Don’t be an idiot. How are you going to spread frosting on cream? I can’t believe I actually had to tell you that.

Wrap the finished loaf gently with plastic wrap, then use your hands carefully to compress the cake slightly and straighten it out if it’s leaning. It will be very loose and delicate at this point.
Chill it in the fridge overnight and it will firm up so that it can be frosted.

12 ozs. semisweet chocolate (or bittersweet, or a mixture of the two)
3/4 c. hot espresso or very strong black coffee
1/2 lb. unsalted butter, well softened

Set the chocolate and hot coffee in a saucepan over very low heat or a double-boiler. Stir constantly until chocolate is completely melted and smooth (I am so paranoid about scorching the chocolate that I take the pan off the heat periodically and keep stirring, allowing the residual heat of the pan to do the work).
Stir the butter in in dollops and incorporate completely. If there are a few cold lumps of butter floating on top that don’t seem to want to incorporate, just take the pot completely off the heat and cover with a lid. Ten or so minutes later you should be able to quickly stir in the leftover pieces. It will be a very liquidy mixture at this point and will need to be chilled a while to get to the right texture for frosting the cake. Frost the cake thickly with a 1/2 inch layer of decorative dollops and swirls. Refrigerate the cake uncovered until the frosting hardens, then quickly wrap with plastic and place back in fridge.

Refrigerate until 2 hours before serving. Allow the cake to sit at room temperature to soften the frosting.

This cake keeps very well and is actually improved by a few days in the fridge. It’s better on day five than on day two, I find.¬† Keeps for a couple weeks as long as it remains chilled.

* Grand Marnier is an orange liqueur. You may prefer a different flavor. I have used Frangelico (hazelnut) and Amaretto (almond) with excellent results. Chambord (black raspberry) tints the cream an unappealing grey color, so if you use it you should add a drop of red food coloring to the cream. If you use vanilla extract, cut the amount back to one or one-and-a-half tablespoons instead of three.

** You will have too much frosting. You will find ways to dispose of the leftovers.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: What goes good with delicious cake? Sweet, sweet VICTORY!!

Monkeys Eating Jell-O? Monkeys Eating Jell-O! January 3, 2010

Posted by Edward von Bear in Art, Ducks, Economics, Food, Heroes, Man Laws, Nature Shit, Personal Experiences, Philosophy, Politics, Science, Sidebar Flag Bullshit, Sitemeter, Technology, Websites.

This is from the Bronx Zoo. Apparently, this helps stimulate their foraging instincts.

That, and my daughter saw it last night and laughed with me.

And Now, For Your Viewing Pleasure, I Present Drunk Monkeys On A Beach! June 8, 2009

Posted by Edward von Bear in Ducks, Economics, Entertainment, Family, Food, Gardening, Handblogging, Heroes, History, Man Laws, News, Personal Experiences, Religion, Science, Sex, Sports, Websites.
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I love how the video claims that the drinkingest of the monkeys are viewed as leadership material. Kinda like our politicians.