There’s nothing I look forward to more than the cornucopia of summer produce. Almost all of my favorite vegetables and fruits are harvested during the warm summer months. One of my favorite surprises is when I see figs back in the stores. To celebrate the bounty of figs I make this sweet and luscious dessert…an ode to the fig.
Homemade Ricotta. Sounds impressive, right? Complicated? Only an expert could do it?
Wrong! It’s easy.
(Don’t tell anyone but this ricotta is actually low-fat and tastes like the real deal!)
Take half a gallon of 1% milk and combine with 1 quart of reduced-fat buttermilk in a large pot. Bring up to medium-high heat and stir every so often to make sure the milk isn’t scorching on the bottom of the pot.
Keep your eye on the pot. Eventually, you’ll see the curd start to separate from the whey. Use a spoon and gently pull back some of the curd. If it’s easy to separate, turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
After ten minutes, strain the cheese into a colander and then immediately transfer into a bowl.
Next season the strained cheese with a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon of honey, and I use packet of “pure via.” (You can also use sugar, sugar-in-the-raw, artificial sweetener, agave nectar, or another stevia extract.) If the cheese is dry, add an additional ½ cup of 1% milk to moisten. Mix together and place cheese in the refrigerator.
On to the figs. Cut the figs in half and toss with 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Place on a sheet tray lined with a silpat (a silicone non-stick baking mat) and bake in a 375°F oven for about 10 minutes.
Once the figs are cooked, take about ½ cup of the ricotta and place into a small bowl. Top with a couple of pieces of the glazed figs and drizzle with a high-quality, aged balsamic vinegar.
It’s easier than pie.