Today is Mardis Gras… and in Italy it is the last day of Carnevale. Carnevale is one of the festivities I miss the most. As a child, I loved going around the streets in my town all dressed up, playing pranks and throwning coloured confetti at my friends. The best time of all was the parade of the floats… we used to have so much fun. And then, it also helped that Carnevale always happens around my birthday (which, in this case, was yesterday!)… so I used to have dressing up parties to celebrate. Another thing I love about Carnevale is the food. As it happens just before lent (a time when, traditionally, Catholics eat less or at least give up some of the richest foods), the food is always decadent… and often fried. I have already shared a few typical recipes on the blog like Chiacchiere (which I make every year for my kids), Tortelli, Ravioli Dolci, Bomboloni… all fried. So, this year, I want to share something a bit different: a cake called Migliaccio, typical of Naples and the surrounding areas. It is very similar to a baked cheesecake in consistency and it is made with ricotta and semolina instead of flour. It is very moist and creamy and it has a subtle lemon taste. It is delicious and very easy to make. Try it and let me know! Buon Carnevale everyone!
Migliaccio - a traditional semolina and ricotta cake made in Naples for Carnevale.
- 500 ml – 2 cups milk
- 500 ml – 2 cups water
- 50 gms – 3 ½ tbsp butter
- Peel of 1 lemon
- 1 pinch salt
- 200 gms – 1 2/3 cups semolina
- 4 eggs
- 300 gms – 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 350 gms – 12 oz. ricotta
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp Limoncello optional
- Icing sugar to decorate
Put the milk, water, butter, salt and lemon peel in a pot and bring to a boil.
Remove the lemon peel and add the semolina while continuously stirring.
Cook the semolina for 10 minutes (keep stirring!). If you get any lumps, use a stick mixer to remove them. Let it cool down a little.
In the meantime, whisk the eggs with the sugar. Add the ricotta, vanilla extract and Limoncello (if you use it) and whisk well.
Add the lukewarm semolina to the ricotta mixture and whisk to combine.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C – 355°F for 60 minutes. It will be slightly wobbly, like a cheesecake.
Let it cool down completely, then unmould it, dust it with icing sugar and serve.