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3 ways to brunch with baked ricotta

Raspberry meringue baked ricotta (recipe 3 below) with wholemeal seeded waffles and maple syrup

Happy Sunday!

I hope you've had a lovely weekend so far, and are in for a lovely lazy day today. I am gearing up for a day of pottering, after having spent some of yesterday at Quaglino's near Green Park enjoying a bottomless prosecco brunch with some of my old school friends. I am really into the bottomless prosecco brunch thing (I have one next weekend too!) and am sort of tempted to put together a post on my favourites, but it would just be all the ones I've ever been to, as I don't think anywhere has given me limitless prosecco and I've decided I don't like it!

And as much as I do love those brunches (and probably will write an ode to them all in post someday) they can get pricey, and as lady in my late twenties with a dining room table, I feel like I should be hosting some lovely boozy brunches where I offer guests delicious food and a choice between a bloody mary or mimosa. (Note that I didn't even call it a bucks fizz, I am that classy and NYC-esq). 

But hosting is definitely trickier than my mum and bloggerspehere makes it out to be. As I've persevered through the last minute take away orders and parties where I spend so much time in the kitchen I don't even talk to my pals, I think I've sort of found the knack: Making something that though appearing difficult is actually easy, and requires very little hands on effort to heat or cook. 

Enter baked ricotta - basically just cheese with some oil/herbs/sugar spread all over it and baked in the oven but it looks so fancy and impressive. Even better, not only do you not have to do much prep, but the cooking itself is just banging it in an oven and leaving it for 35-45 minutes, meaning rather than hanging over a stove sweating and stirring, you can be lounging about with a homemade bellini. 

I love how baked ricotta can be dressed up either sweet or savoury, and the sweet is too sour to be very sweet and the savoury is too creamy to taste salty, so it is perfect for the mix of sweet and savoury the best brunch foods tend to be. 

So here are 3 ways with ricotta, 2 nicked from wonderful chefs and one attempt by me:

1. Jamie Oliver's savoury baked ricotta, in his new book  - Everyday Superfood (purchase here) on page 160

Jamie bakes an olive oil, thyme, lemon zest and garlic coated ricotta alongside some vine tomatoes. He serves this with rocket, balsamic and olive oil over spelt pasta, which is very delicious and also very impressive when it is all put together, if you're also looking for a hands off dinner party recipe (maybe a vegetarian one?) It is also pretty scrummy sans the pasta for a brunch. I just take the whole baking pan out of the oven with the browned ricotta and the sizzling tomatoes and serve with toasted sourdough, letting my guests dig in. Yum.

If you don't have Everyday Superfood (I really recommend it) the video is also up on Jamie Oliver's Youtube channel:

I followed this recipe, and opted for the figs, but also smushed some amaretti biscuits on the top which brought it even closer to tasting like a not-so-sweet cheesecake. Delicious served with more fruit and seeded bread or, once you've had a few glasses of prosecco just eaten straight from the dish with a spoon.

I like taking photographs of flowers and cheese.

3. Raspberry meringue baked ricotta

And finally my own contribution! I could have called this baked ricotta with fruits but it sounded too similar to Marta's sweet baked ricotta, and to be honest it really isn't that different. The main change I made was only using the egg white to make the ricotta lighter and meringue like, and baking fruits within the ricotta itself. 

1 egg white
150g ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons of sugar
A handful of your favourite fruit which cooks well (I used frozen raspberries, but next week I am going to try this with some fresh diced rhubarb)
Vanilla essence/ almond essence/ rosewater

Set your oven to 160 degrees celsius.

Whisk the egg white until it forms soft peaks, the fold into the ricotta cheese.

Once it is all lightly mixed and you have an airy cheesy mixture, add 1 and a half tablespoons of fine sugar and a small drizzle of your favourite essence. I used rosewater syrup with this as I had some knocking around and I love the taste of raspberry and rose combined, however I think pitted cherries with almonds could also be really delicious.

Add in a handful of berries and stir before decanting into ramekins. Don't put the mixture too close to the top as it rises almost like souffles in the oven, before settling down! Bake for 10 mins, then sprinkle about half a tablespoon of sugar on top and bake for 30 more.

I served this with wholemeal seeded waffles (see top pic, I use this recipe, but swap plain flour for wholemeal seeded, and left out the chocolate chips) and maple syrup.

PS. Beyonce GIFs.

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