The magic trick

Fifty years ago, there would have been an Easter basket at the end of my bed, with a chocolate rabbit, and a marshmallow egg. The rest you had to work for. But before I woke up enough to put my feet on the floor, I’d dream a little longer and let myself believe in the Easter Bunny. The world where anything can happen. You have to focus on the inside without the outside leaking in. A few years before, the kid of a friend of my mother’s, Rick Dowd said to me, “You have to think about it. It’s not possible. A giant rabbit, gets it into his head that it would be a good idea to deliver candy in fake grass to some, but not all kids, in America. Where does he get the chocolate?” After he said it, I couldn’t un-think it. I always wished I could have locked the door when Rick Dowd showed up. The magic trick was my mother. Even though my mother was the most practical person born on the East Coast with a leaning towards the apocalyptic, she didn’t budge when it came to the Easter Bunny. “Who else would have brought you chocolate?”

What the Easter Bunny is not going to do, is bake you a cake.

fresh ricotta cheesecake:

Lay a piece of cheesecloth over a sieve, and set the sieve over a bowl. Spoon 3 1/2 cups of best quality, fresh ricotta cheese on the cheesecloth, and let it drain overnight in the refrigerator. Make a shortbread crust with 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup unsalted cold butter cut into small cubes, 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients, just til it comes together. Press and bake in a spring form pan at 375 until just golden. Cool. Turn the oven to 350. Separate 5 eggs. Beat the yolks with 3/4 cup of sugar until pale yellow and tripled in volume. Grate the zest of one small lemon. Gently fold in the ricotta with the zest to the yolks. Beat a half cup of cream, just til it thickens. Fold in. Beat the whites with a pinch of salt, just until soft peaks form when you lift the whisk. Fold in the egg whites. Add the ricotta mixture and bake for about an hour or until the cake sets with a fifty cent piece size of the middle still holding a jiggle. Make a caramel with 1/2 cup of sugar. Be a cowboy about it and just roast the sugar dry. As soon as it goes a chestnut color, add 1/4 cup of dark rum. Reduce to a syrup consistency and add 1/2 cup of raisins. Pour a little sauce onto each plate, next to a slice of cheesecake.

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