the first time i had storebought ricotta cheese, it was such a bad experience i still shudder at the thought of it. it was dry, bland, grainy and i had trouble finishing the whole tub. there was no way i would buy it again so when i came across a scones recipe that required ricotta, i thought i should make it my own. afterall like mascarpone, its technically not cheese and you only use that few ingredients. even though this is not a true ricotta recipe, it turned out SO GOOD. really smooth, creamy, savory and the texture is very similar to clotted cream. its even better than mascarpone i would say!
from bottom : griotte syrup-soaked chocolate joconde sponge, griottes, dark chocolate chantilly, milk chocolate chantilly
having bought a jar of griottes cherries recently, i have been waiting for an opportunity to make this, hidemi sugino's beautiful rendition of the forêt noire (black forest). i decided to do it for my birthday, which fell on the 7th. whenever it comes to making cakes for the extended family, i'll end up choosing chocolate since this is the most readily accepted one and i don't hv to worry whether they'll find matcha too weird or berries too tart if i were to make those flavors. everyone loves chocolate. having macaron orders back-to-back during my birthday week also meant there was just this much time to churn out a cake and this recipe is really one of the easier ones from sugino's book.
sakura mochi is eaten during the cherry blossom viewing festival as well as hinamatsuri (girls' day) in japan. there are generally two kinds of sakuramochi - the kanto (tokyo) style one where azuki bean paste-filled pancake/crepe is wrapped with pickled sakura leaf and the kansai style's which is made with domyoji-ko, a kind of glutinous rice flour that is steamed and filled with azuki. when a blogger friend asked if i needed anything from her tokyo trip, i jumped at the chance to request for these pickled sakura leaves. she also came back with an additional pack of pickled sakura flowers and some limited edition kitkats for me, so thank you, CY! i really couldn't wait til next spring to make these :p