|Italian flavor meets American Southern Style|
Basil - Strawberry's new best friend!
This dessert is Italian in flavor, but in the style of American South. It's fluffy in texture, and just barely held together by the flour. It lends itself readily to adaptation, so feel free to use whatever fruit is in season, or even try it with vanilla, instead of almond flavor.
Simple and so comforting!
8 tablespoons salted butter plus more for greasing casserole dish, softened
About 1 1/2 pounds ripe, strawberries
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of mascarpone cheese
1/8 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1.) Cut the smaller strawberries in half, and quarter the larger ones and transfer to a large bowl.
2.) Chiffonade about 6-7 large basil leaves and toss in with strawberries. Add a 1 tablespoon of sugar and toss to coat. Place in refrigerator for about 25 minutes to macerate.
3.) Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Wipe the inside of a large shallow casserole with a generous amount of butter. Cover the base with about 1/3 of the strawberry basil mixture.
4.) In a mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and the remaining 1 cup sugar. When it's nice and fluffy white, beat in the eggs, then the mascarpone, ricotta, and almond extract. Fold in the flour by hand.
5.) Spoon this mixture over the strawberries, and spread it close to the edges of the casserole. Place the remaining strawberries n top, pushing some of them into the batter. Bake in the oven, until the sides rise and warp and the center is just set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly, before serving.