Fear not, Fidget is merely in the midst of his Carnival preparations – and where there is Pulcinella, there is of course…tarantella!
Migliaccio napoletano – it’s time for Carnival!
With Mardi Gras upon us – and to get into the true Neapolitan Carnival spirit – the ever-festive Rowes decided to make the traditional occasion cake of the Naples region. It’s called migliaccio, and adapted here from the original recipe in the Cavoletto di Bruxelles blog (thank you to Dixie’s mum for pointing us at that!) but proportionally reduced in size.
Ingredients: 400ml milk, 200g fresh ricotta cheese, 100g semolina, 100g granulated sugar, 2 eggs, 10g butter, 1 tsp vanilla essence, few drops of orange flower water, ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, zest of ½ lemon (untreated), 1 tbsp citrus peel, pinch of salt.
Start by cooking the semolina: mix the milk, semolina, pinch of salt and butter. Now, we must admit that we got into a pickle at this point: we boiled the milk then added the semolina, but (our mistake) we did it all in one go, so it clogged and we had a real job sorting it out! It’s actually better mixing the semolina with cold milk (not hot), and only after it is well mixed bringing it to the boil. Cook for 5–6min, then leave aside to cool and firm up. If you still prefer to add the semolina to hot milk, sift it slowly while stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Yes, mistakes do happen, even in the cartoon kitchen, but whichever way you choose, please make sure your semolina is tickety-boo.
Next, in a bowl mix the ricotta and half of the sugar, then stir in the vanilla, orange flower water, cinnamon and lemon zest. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the rest of the sugar, then combine with the ricotta mix and, finally, the cooled semolina. Add the citrus peel, mix well and transfer into an 18cm Ø lined tin. Level the top and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 45–60min until the surface turns lovely and golden.
Take out, allow to cool and serve with a sprinkle of icing sugar.
So slow down and catch your breath, Fidget, there are no tarantulas in sight. How about a nice slice of migliaccio, eh?
And for readers who would like to practice their tarantella moves, here is the soundtrack for you. Happy Carnival everyone!