Italian sultana and ricotta torte

  • Serves 12
  • Hands-on time 1 hour, oven time 1 hour 35 min, plus cooling
  • Easy
Debbie Major's lemony torte, studded with plump, juicy sultanas, is best served warm or at room temperature rather than chilled from the fridge.

Nutritional info per serving

  • Calories514kcals
  • Fat28.2g (16.6g saturated)
  • Protein11.6g
  • Carbohydrates52.8g (32g sugars)
  • Fibre1g
  • Salt0.4g
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[Total: 5 Average: 3.6]
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For the base

  • 175g plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • 75g semolina
  • 175g chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing
  • 75g caster sugar

For the ricotta topping

  • 100g good quality sultanas
  • 225g caster sugar (reserve 3 tbsp)
  • 90g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • 4½ tbsp cornflour
  • Scant 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt 
  • 750g fresh ricotta 
  • Finely grated zest 1 large unwaxed lemon
  • 15g flaked almonds  
  • Icing sugar to dust

You’ll also need…

  • 23cm springform cake tin, lightly greased with butter


  1. For the ricotta topping, put the sultanas in a small, heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water, then set aside to soak. 
  2. Meanwhile make the base. Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas 3. Put the flour and semolina in a food processor, add the butter and process briefly until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the 75g sugar and blend using the pulse button until the mixture starts to stick together in small clumps. 
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until smooth. Shape into a ball, then roll out into a 23cm disc. Put the disc in the greased tin and prick here and there with a fork. Bake for about 35 minutes until a pale biscuit-brown. Remove and set aside to cool slightly. Turn the oven up to 180°C/ 160°C fan/gas 4. 
  4. For the topping, drain the sultanas and spread out to dry on kitchen paper. Reserve 3 tbsp of the caster sugar. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and remaining caster sugar with an electric mixer until combined. It won’t go pale and fluffy because of the high proportion of sugar. Crack in one of the eggs and beat once more until the mixture is light, pale and creamy. Beat in 2 more of the eggs. Separate the last egg and beat in the egg yolk. Reserve the egg white.
  5. Sift over the cornflour, baking powder and salt, then fold in using a large metal spoon along with the ricotta, lemon zest and sultanas. Finally, whisk the egg white to soft peaks in a mixing bowl, then gently fold in using a large metal spoon. 
  6. Grease the sides of the tin with a little more butter and coat them with the reserved 3 tbsp caster sugar. Pour the ricotta topping mixture on top of the base in the tin, then scatter over the flaked almonds. Bake for 1 hour until the torte has puffed up, is firm to the touch and has started to shrink away from the sides of the tin. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. 
  7. Carefully remove the torte from the tin. To serve, lightly dust the top with icing sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into slices.
  • For a more decadent torte, soak the sultanas in warmed marsala, madeira, vin santo or sweet sherry (step 1).
  • Make the torte up to 24 hours in advance. Keep covered in the fridge; bring up to room temperature to serve.

From March 2017

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