So last Saturday night I decided to invite some friends over and get cooking again. I had a big piece of guanciale that I'd cured and I figured a nice simple Italian supper of salad, homemade pasta with A'matriciana sauce and fresh baked artisan bread would do the trick. Fresh, not too complicated, an easy Saturday supper. But then I came up with the thing that always stops me cold. Dessert. I knew I had to make something light. After bread and pasta, I was certainly not baking any cakes. Ice cream is always easy but can be boring. I was about to make a plain panna cotta when I thought about some ricotta instead. I love serving fresh ricotta with figs, nuts, and local honey as an easy fall dessert, but it was blazing hot out here this last weekend. Whatever I made needed to be cool and refreshing and mustn't involve turning on the oven.
Then I remembered ricotta pudding. It whips up fast and fluffy, is simple and would go well with the local strawberries I had. This is a dessert that one can prep a few hours in advance and then literally whip together in 5 minutes before serving. Can't beat that... or rather, yes you can. Having a beater of some sort is a must for this dessert.
Here's What you need:
1/2 lb of fresh ricotta cheese
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup of finely chopped pistachios
1/4 cup of thinly sliced almonds lightly toasted
1 and 1/4 cup of whipping cream
5 Tbs of powdered sugar.
1 and 1/2 cups of washed,dried, and sliced strawberries
1/4 cup chopped good quality dark chocolate
Here's What To Do:
Mix together the lemon and orange zest with the chopped pistachios and set aside.
Lightly toast the almonds in a dry skillet and set them aside.
Wash, dry and slice the strawberries then set them aside.
All this can be done ahead of time. Just keep the bowls covered so the ingredients don't get dried out.
Just before serving:
Mix the ricotta with a beater until it's nice and smooth.
Mix the cream together with the powdered sugar and beat it until you have whipped cream.
Fold the whipped cream into the ricotta carefully.
Add in all the other ingredients, one at a time EXCEPT THE STRAWBERRIES and make sure they're blended together smoothly.
Serve it in individual bowls. Add the strawberries just before serving to make sure they don't leak into the whipped cream ricotta mixture and turn everything pink.
There you have it, a cooling fluffy dessert that in my opinion sort of resembles the filling of a cannolli only lighter and without the fried shell. Not that I'd be above stuffing something with this filling. Hardly. In fact if I can ever master the profiterole making process (don't ask) this is the first thing that's going in them.
I also happened to run across the first figs of the season. I had to buy these as none of my gleaning spots are ready yet. Coming up next, a great way to use those figs as a first course.
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