She appeared on telly in the 1960s, and released a definitive collection of her recipes called El Libro de Doña Petrona. Her book became the one people turned to for authentic, tried and tested Argentine cuisine and many Argentine households have a copy not too far from the kitchen. And flicking through the book, on the plane home somewhere above Brazil, I found a recipe for ricotta ice cream; what she called helados rápidos con ricotta ('quick ricotta ice cream'). I couldn't wait to try it out.
Ricotta freezes very well, and gives the ice cream a thicker, more substantial texture than the plain old custard-based ice creams. Also, as the ice cream is made with ricotta (154 calories per 100g) and natural yoghurt (134 calories per 100g) it's healthier than those mixtures rich in eggs, cream and sugar. (Double cream alone can contain around 470 calories per 100g). Healthy, that is, until you dump a can of caramel into it.
Ricotta and Caramel Ice Cream
(adapted from a recipe by Doña Petrona, in El Gran Libro de Doña Petrona)
200g Greek natural yoghurt
397g can of caramel (I used Carnation caramel) or use dulce de leche if you can get it
half a teaspoon sea salt flakes, plus more to serve, if you like
Empty the ricotta into a large bowl and beat until all the clumps have gone, leaving a smooth, white mixture. Tip in the yoghurt and then beat again, ensuring there are no lumps and the yoghurt is mixed smoothly with the ricotta. Finally, pour in the caramel or dulce de leche and the salt and mix again until well combined.
You can either pour this into the frozen bowl of an ice cream maker to churn, but you can also just empty into a freezable container and freeze until it's the right consistency. You can also sprinkle the ice cream with a few sea salt flakes to make the salty sweetness just that little bit more intense.
Do you fancy trying ice creams made with ricotta? What do you think?