easy desserts & recipes: quid quo pro latin 101 with a torta di ricotta recipe (ricotta cheesecake)

Ricotta Cheesecake

Both of my children have or are taking Latin in school. My youngest took it for two years and is now taking French. My oldest, who struggled through a year of Spanish is now taking Latin and loving it. I find it extremely interesting and as the “quizzer” during study time I’ve enjoyed learning a few Latin words and phrases.

Cross word puzzles are notorious for using Latin words and phrases as clues and since I love to do crossword puzzles helping my children study their Latin has helped me. The word “amas” is very popular in puzzles as well as “amat” and “esse”. “Sine qua non” and “quid pro quo” are two very popular phrases. “Sine qua non” means “an indispensable condition” or “a condition without which it could not be”. The term “quid quo pro” means “something for something.” Today we use the term “quid quo pro” as meaning a favor for a favor.

“Quid quo pro” should be the unofficial motto of the blogosphere. And, “sine qua non” can back it up. We are all out here, doing our thing, writing our blogs and hoping for readers. The blogging community is tremendously supportive of each other and that is something that we love about it. There is an unofficial etiquette of “quid quo pro” amongst bloggers. This etiquette is “sine qua non”; it is an indispensible condition of blogging.

Ricotta Cheescake
We have met some wonderful people through our blog. Well, hell, if you read our story you’ll realize that, we, at myFudo, met through our own individual blogs. The blogosphere continues to amaze us in its ability to educate and connect.

In the spirit of “quid quo pro” we’d like to thank you for reading by offering you a virtual taste of an ancient Roman cheesecake. But, we’d much rather you enjoy it in the real world so please try it on your own. You’ll find you’ll want to share it with others for it is delectamentum!

We are giving you two recipes that you will find amoenus (delectable): (1) The original ancient Roman recipe found in Cato’s book “De Agri Cultura” and (2) my Nonna’s recipe, a modern variation of the ancient recipe, torta di ricotta.

Hand Full Of Berries

Libum (This recipe was found at Food.com, but is actually from the book, “A Taste of Ancient Rome”) “They call it a cheesecake. It is actually more like a cheese bun/cake with honey on it. The recipe was recorded by Cato (De Agri Cultura). This is a sacrificial cake sometimes offered to household spirits when the Romans honored them. Do not think Modern cheesecake. It isn’t a thing like it.”

Photography Tips:

1. How to blur the background of your photos by switching your camera to Aperture Priority, Nikon uses a dial switched to “A”. Zoom in, choose the lowest F-number. This not only works with portraits but any subject.

2. Get creative, go to the park, or in your back yard, let the green tree’s serve as a backdrop, when blurred, your subject is highlighted even more. Make use of that old picnic table you have back there.

Ingredients

Half a cup of plain flour
One cup of ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
Bay leaves
Half a cup of clear honey

Directions

1. Sift the flour in a mixing bowl.
2. Beat the cheese until soft, stir into the flour.
3. Add the beaten egg to the flour/cheese mixture, forming a soft dough
4. Divide the dough into four and shape each piece into a bun
5. Place on a greased baking tray with a fresh bay leaf underneath.
6. Heat the oven to 425F – 220C. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until golden brown.
7. Warm the honey, pour into a flat plate, place the buns in it and rest till the honey is absorbed.

Torta di Ricotta

Ingredients

For the Crust

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
Large pinch of salt
8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk
For the Filling
1 pound ricotta
1 cup honey
3 whole eggs
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon orange zest

Directions for Crust

1. To make the crust: Combine the dry ingredients stand mixer bowl and with the paddle attachment running on low, add the butter. Texture will be coarse.

2. In a small bowl, beat the egg and egg yolk. Stir in the lemon zest. Pour into the flour mixture and mix until just combined. If the dough is too crumbly add a tablespoon of chilled water.

3. Divide the dough into two balls or leave as one. You can divide the dough according to your use: tartlets, large pie dish, tart pan, etc. Flatten the dough to resemble a thick pancake and chill for at least 45 minutes.

Directions for Filling and Assembly

1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a dough ball to fit into the size pan you are using. If you have extra dough or the second ball, freeze it to use on another day. Line the baking dish with the dough, making a decorative trim if so desired. If not simply trim the extra dough.

2. Place in freezer to chill for at least 15 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

4. To make the filling: whisk the eggs together in a small bowl. In a large bowl mix the ricotta, honey, orange zest and lemon zest. As that is mixing pour in the eggs. Mix until well combined. Chill until dough is finished chilling.

5. When the dough is ready add the filling. Whisk together the egg yolk and milk. Brush the crust with this mixture.

6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and then let cool for an hour before refrigerating for at least an hour. After the pie is chilled it is ready to serve.


Photography Data:
Guest Photography 1st Photo David Hsu
Second Von (Brand Camera Kodak)
ApertureFNumber: f/2.0
Make: Canon
Model: Canon EOS 30D
ExposureTime: 1/800
FNumber: 2/1
ExposureProgram: 1
ISOSpeedRatings: 100
MaxApertureValue: 16875/10000
MeteringMode: 5
Flash: 16
FocalLength: 50/1

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25 comments

  • February 25, 2012 at 6:21 am //

    Gorgeous photos and that cheesecake isn’t half bad either. That’s great the kids are taking Latin. Hope you have a great weekend.
    -Gina-

    • February 25, 2012 at 8:22 am //

      Thank you so much Gina =)

    • February 26, 2012 at 8:41 am //

      Thank you so much Gina, have you tried Ricotta Cheesecake before? You have a wonderful weekend as well = )

  • February 25, 2012 at 6:32 am //

    Mmmm this ricotta cheesecake looks incredible! I wish I had taken Latin in school – it really does help build vocabulary.

    • February 26, 2012 at 9:19 am //

      We could dig into a container of ricotta alone, but when it involves cheesecake”nommers”. Thank you so much for commenting Katherine.

  • February 25, 2012 at 7:07 am //

    The ricotta cheesecake sounds and looks amazing :) Great photo tips as well!!

    • February 26, 2012 at 9:18 am //

      Have you tried Ricotta Cheesecake before Sydney? We’ve become quite smitten with it = )

  • February 25, 2012 at 7:36 am //

    I love Fudo! Your blog is like a food magazine but better because I don’t have to wait a month for fresh content. You are exactly right about quid quo pro among food bloggers. There are so many REALLY talented and good people I’ve met virtually in the last six months since I began blogging.

    Love the montage of photos and the patterns–paper or fabric? This is a fresh blog, which I love visiting. Kudos!

    • February 26, 2012 at 9:17 am //

      We are absolutely beaming to hear you say that! It’s just splendid that you are enjoying our posts and site, really. Totally agree with the quid pro quo among food bloggers, or on the net as a whole.

      With the world wide net, some folks can’t find their moral compass even if they had a GPS embedded! lol

  • February 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm //

    Wow, it looks really great! Love summer berries and your photos.
    Kisses from Spain!

    • February 27, 2012 at 10:10 am //

      Thank you Sofia = )

  • February 27, 2012 at 2:53 am //

    Yummy tart! Thanks for the recipe.

    • February 27, 2012 at 10:10 am //

      Thank you = )

  • February 28, 2012 at 2:49 am //

    I love ricotta cheesecake, but for some reason I’ve only made the cream cheese variety. Which is good, too, but not in the same class as the ricotta. And it’s been way too long since I’ve made any cheesecake at all. But the next one, I think, will be ricotta. Thanks for the nudge.

  • February 28, 2012 at 11:49 am //

    This tart looks lovely! I really enjoy ricotta cheese, it’s so delicate and tasty.

  • February 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm //

    The berries look so great and fresh (also your nails look great, how do you keep them so nice with kids?!?!?!) I love the idea of a ricotta cheesecake. I bet it’s lighter than the traditional cream cheese. I’ve got to try this

    • February 28, 2012 at 7:11 pm //

      Hi Alyssa, thank you. Photoshop is a wonderful tool, however these are not my nails = ), although I get a mani done once a week, so that helps.

  • February 28, 2012 at 11:43 pm //

    I love ricotta based cheesecake, since I grew up in Europe. This looks beautiful, and I love the pictures of the berries!

  • February 29, 2012 at 3:39 am //

    I love Ricotta in pastries, cakes etc. This cheesecake looks delicious. I will have to give it try… Thank you!

  • March 1, 2012 at 1:45 am //

    I love ricotta! This looks amazing, I’m giddy with excitement I cannot wait to try this!

    -Shan

    • March 1, 2012 at 7:30 am //

      Thank you so much Shan = )

  • March 7, 2012 at 6:12 am //

    This looks absolutely Gorgeous!!! Love the fresh berries in the middle. We are fom Europe and mostly use ricotta cheese instead of the cream cheese.
    Cheers :)

  • March 7, 2012 at 5:15 pm //

    oh my, this looks super yums!!! thank yo ufor sharing this delicious recipes!

    • March 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm //

      Thank you so much for commenting = )

  • March 8, 2012 at 2:37 am //

    I’ma total sucker for anything with ricotta! Especially if it’s for dessert, YUM!