Torta soffice di pere con ricotta e pinole (pear, ricotta and pine nut cake).

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From our The Vivant’s Top Ten: Chefs Share Their Favorite Dessert Recipe feature, Best-selling author, chef, and Mediterranean diet ambassador Amy Riolo shared this one from her Italian Diabetes Cookbook.

Torta soffice di pere con ricotta e pinole (pear, ricotta and pine nut cake)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound skim milk ricotta
  • 2/3 cup raw agave nectar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup natural sugar
  • 1 cup golden raisins, soaked in 3/4 cup orange juice for 20 minutes
  • 6 ounces pine nuts
  • Grated zest of 2 oranges
  • 6 large egg yolks, whisked until foamy
  • 4 large pears, peeled, diced or grated in a food processor, and drained of excess liquid
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.Grease and flour a 10-inch springform pan.
  2. Place the ricotta and agave nectar in a large bowl and mix until ricotta is smooth.
  3. Beat the egg whites on high speed with sugar until stiff peaks form.
  4. Drain the raisins, pat them dry, and dice them. Add the pine nuts, orange zest, raisins, egg yolks, and pears to the ricotta mixture, and mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated.
  5. Fold egg whites into ricotta mixture with a spatula, stirring counterclockwise. (Start at the “3 o’clock” position and turn your wrist counterclockwise until you reach the same point.) Continue folding in the egg whites just until they are incorporated and mixture is smooth.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and hit pan on the counter a few times to release air bubbles .Position a rack in the center of the oven, and bake cake until a knife inserted in the top comes out clean, 40–50 minutes.
  7. Cool to room temperature, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, and cut into thin wedges to serve.

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