Cook | For Mothers Day or Shavuot, say cheese for brunch

Since Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 10, it’s a great opportunity to honor mothers with a festive brunch. If Mom is the family cook and taking the day off, this fare can be made easily by other family members, including older children with supervision.

The Ricotta Cheese Puff is a soufflé-style dish. It is also appropriate for Shavuot, which begins the evening of May 23. The holiday marks the giving of the Torah and dairy dishes are a traditional part of the celebration.

My Frozen Spring Cake isn’t really a cake, but a frozen dessert. It relies on a number of purchased ingredients available at larger or specialty markets. Its springlike colors make it perfect for Mother’s Day or Shavuot. Use one, two or three slightly tart sorbet flavors such as pomegranate, blood orange or raspberry. Any size vanilla meringues (ranging from 1 to 3 inches in diameter) are fine, but the sorbet amount needed will vary depending on the size of pan and meringues.


Ricotta Cheese Puff

Serves 4

butter to grease baking dish

6 large or extra-large eggs

1⁄2 cup milk

11⁄2 cups ricotta cheese

1⁄8 tsp. hot sauce

1⁄4 tsp. Dijon mustard

1⁄8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1⁄2 tsp. salt

1⁄2 tsp. ground black pepper

11⁄2 cups shredded Swiss cheese (1⁄4 lb.)

11⁄2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (1⁄4 lb.)

2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh parsley

1⁄4 tsp. paprika

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of a 6-8 cup soufflé dish or straight-sided casserole dish.

Crack eggs into work bowl of food processor. Add milk, ricotta cheese, hot sauce, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Process until well mixed. With machine running, drop Swiss and Gruyère cheeses in batches through feed tube. Continue to process until smooth. Add parsley. Process until well distributed.

Scrape into prepared dish. Sprinkle with paprika. Place on baking sheet in oven. For a creamy center, bake about 45-47 minutes until top is light brown, edges have pulled away from sides and the center still jiggles a bit when the dish is shaken. If you prefer a firmer texture, bake another 5-10 minutes, until the center no longer jiggles. (The top may crack.) Use two large spoons to serve immediately. (Note: The puff will rise, but not as much as a traditional soufflé. It also won’t deflate as much.)


Frozen Spring Cake

Serves 8

10.5- to 11-oz. jar lemon curd

1 cup Greek-style plain yogurt

5 oz. individual vanilla meringue “kisses”

21⁄2 to 3 pints sorbet or sherbet, softened

Tear off piece of plastic wrap long enough to cover the bottom and sides of an 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan, leaving a 6-inch overhang. Tear off a second piece the same length and place it perpendicular to the first so the inside is completely covered.

Mix lemon curd with yogurt. Place a third of the meringues on bottom of pan. Drizzle with a third of the lemon curd. Scoop balls of sorbet on top and between meringues, alternating sorbet flavors if using more than one. Press down to make an even layer almost halfway up the pan. Repeat with half the remaining meringues, lemon curd and sorbet up to the top of pan. Press down. Top with remaining meringues. Drizzle with remaining lemon curd. Place level in freezer, uncovered. Freeze for 30 minutes, then use overhanging plastic to cover. Freeze 4 hours or until hard. (Can be made 3 days in advance). To serve, remove from freezer. Lift from pan using plastic overhang. Remove plastic and place on platter. Wait 15-20 minutes before slicing.

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Josie A.G. Shapiro. Faith blogs at Contact her at [email protected]

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].