Fresh local berries are everywhere right now – supermarkets, farmers markets, people’s backyards, even Costco. And I see little point in cooking these lovely little gifts to death or burying them in a complex dessert. So what better medium for showcasing them than simple baked ricotta?
This dessert is all about the cheese, so for this recipe skip the Trader Joe’s dairy case and go find some high-quality ricotta. Also, have some fun picking especially flavorful honey.
You can make this dessert in the morning and let the ramekins stand at room temperature until you serve them with the warm compote. Consider pairing with a nice pistachio shortbread cookie using this recipe and a dessert wine – a 2011 Carlo Pellegrino Passito di Pantelleria DOC, for example.
Makes 12 individual servings.
Directions and ingredients:
- Unsalted butter, for greasing the ramekins
- 10 cups, very good-quality ricotta – drained overnight in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl
- 1 cup (divided) good-quality honey (I used Chestnut honey from Tuscany to impart a unique taste; use a honey with the flavor of your choosing)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 5 eggs
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- Juice of 1 lemon (use the lemon you zested for the baked ricotta)
- 1 large plastic clamshell container of blueberries equaling about 2 pounds, or 4 1-pint containers– cleaned of stems and rinsed
- 12 5-inch ramekins – each holding about 6 ounces.
- 2 sheet pans
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Make the filling: combine together the ricotta, honey (hold back ¼ cup), lemon zest and eggs. Whisk until smooth. Taste the filling to correct the amount of lemon taste and sweetness; adding some of the honey.
- Grease each ramekin with the unsalted butter and arrange on the 2 sheet pans.
- Distribute the filling among the ramekins – filling them to about a ¼-inch from the top.
- Bake for 30 minutes; rotate the sheet pans once during cooking. The filling should be puffed and golden brown, but will fall back down as it cools.
- In a saucepan, add the water, sugar and lemon juice. Heat over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the blueberries and gently toss with a wooden spoon.
- Continue to cook over low heat the liquid begins to turn purple and the blueberries soften but still retain their shape- about 10 minutes.
- Serve warm over the room temperature backed ricotta.