Readers, I like you. I like that you read this blog. It’s really touching. I've been raised to believe nobody is interested in all of my fucking whining - to just not say anything if I can't say anything nice, etc. - and as such am actually quite a quiet person in the flesh as most of the thoughts that are manifestable in vocabulary in my brain run along the "fuck you!" lines. I'm given to responding to questions like "so how do you like Australia?" with some brief, rather guarded positive, like "we enjoy our lifestyles there, and we have a lot of good friends in the expatriate community" instead of a more specific, more negative statement - "the weather's good and we have jobs that give us a lot of time to work out and have sex, but Australians make me and all our friends want to puke and I can't wait to leave."
So the fact you read this blog when it's almost 90% whining is really nice, and I like you for it. And as a token of my liking you, I’m about to improve your life. You can use a commercial pie crust for the following, or make your own, or get fancy – just make sure it’s something that will stand about 30 minutes of baking, and is about the size of a standard pie, if you catch my drift.
Take two cups of ricotta. Put them in a bowl and grate the zest of an orange or lemon or some other citrus fruit into it. Put in a couple of tablespoons of the sort of sugar you like: I use evaporated cane juice, being a hippie. You could use anything on down to icing sugar, which would probably be the most “authentic” as far as that goes. Put in little pieces of chocolate. You can please yourself here with how much you put in, but this doesn’t have to be a very sweet dessert, so no need to lose your shit; a little goes a long way.
Put in a couple of spoonfuls of a liqueur of your choice, probably a fruity one. Even limoncello will do. Mix it up, exhaustively. Beat a couple of eggs, and then mix them up exhaustively into your ricotta mixture. Dump the mixture into the pie shell, and bake it at 200° C for about 25 minutes, or until it looks, you know, hearty. Sort of a lovely pale gold. Let it cool down, and then comes the most important step – eat it.
The process is simple and the product is simply bewildering. The first forkful, and for all but the piles of garbage, the stray cats, the Mediterranean, the gypsies with their noses sliced off, the slightly sickening Baroque churches, and actually a lot of other things besides the ricotta desserts, I was back in Naples.
I’m particularly pleased with this recipe because in the Australian countryside so many Italian cheeses are impossible to come by in anything like a pleasing form.We have (and if you told me we’d even consider such a step a year ago, I’d have laughed in your face) given up on the shit pecorino romano and reggiano and parmigiano and whatnot that gets flogged there in favour of very old cheddar as a condiment for our pasta. What the fuck! Even in England, the Netherlands, Scandi-fucking-navia, I’ve never been driven to such a fucking extremity as that. But in Australia it seems like the only decent cheese they can produce domestically is cheddar, and European exporters only seem to deign to send their shittiest products to us on the end of the Earth.
Luckily, LUCKILY, though, the other exception is ricotta. Fresh, decent-enough ricotta, we can snag even in the sticks. Maybe I will be able to make it through – yurgh – six or seven years there.