Sunday, March 3, 2013
Baked fresh ricotta: breakfast or dessert
Saturday or Sunday breakfast is probably my most favorite meal to make. I don't have to rush to or from anywhere and can afford to cook as slowly as I can. It's ok to get distracted by a skype call with Allie's grandpa in Belarus, or relax with a cup of coffee and a nice magazine or watch Allie play. I enjoy trying new dishes for a weekend breakfast. For a little while I was on a frittata kick and made them out of anything I could find in our house, but then I got kind of bored with those.
Recently I came across a cookbook by Claire Robinson ("5 ingredient fix" is the show she has on Food Network. She is one of my favorites, I love her recipes and her simple approach.) A breakfast recipe for baked ricotta caught my attention, because I thought it would be similar to one of my favorite things to make, zapekanka that I wrote about recently, only it requires ricotta, which is so much easier to find than farmer's cheese. I tried out this recipe today and wow, was it good! It's supposed to be a breakfast dish, but it can just as well be a healthy dessert, it almost tastes like a lemony cheesecake without all the sugar. She uses honey to sweeten it up and it works so well! The recipe calls for fresh cherries, but all I had was blueberries, so that's what my version has and it tastes fantastic. But the next time I see cherries in a store, I am going to make the original.
1 1/2 fresh whole milk ricotta cheese
1 large egg
3 Tbsp honey, divided
1/2 tsp salt
zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
1 C fresh or frozen blueberries (I actually used half fresh and half frozen)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put the ricotta in a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and let stand to remove access liquid. It took about 20 minutes.
Transfer the cheese to a bowl, add the egg, 1 tablespoon of honey, salt and half the lemon zest.
Stir together and transfer to a buttered dish.
The deeper and smaller the dish is, the longer it's going to cook. The recipe calls for an 8-once shallow wish, which would result in 35 mins cooking time. I ended up using a dish that's smaller and the layer of ricotta seemed pretty thick, so mine baked for about 50 minutes. Place the dish in a preheated oven and cook it until it gets puffy and begins to brown (anywhere between 35 and 50 minutes).
Meanwhile, cook the blueberry sauce. Put blueberries, lemon juice, remaining zest and 2 tablespoons honey in a saucepan.
Simmer over medium heat
Continue simmering for 25-30 minutes, until it thickens. The test that I use to know if it's done is I swipe a spatula against the bottom of the saucepan and if the sauce stays separated, it's cooked.
Serve baked warm ricotta as a spread for your morning toast and top with some blueberry sauce. It's so decadent and delicious and just sweet enough to be a treat!
Later today after ricotta cooled down I had some with my tea as a dessert. Really, it tastes like a cheesecake!
Have a great week!