Three weeks ago, on our way out of the University District Farmers Market, I made a quick stop for an impulse buy of blue cheese at Willapa Hills. I’m glad I did because I discovered something akin to the Holy Grail of cheeses – fresh ricotta. The reason fresh ricotta is so desirable is that store bought ricotta tends to be flavorless and wet. Fresh ricotta is firm, substantial, and delicious. In fact, it is perfect in both sweet and savory dishes.
Today’s recipe comes from the delightful blog Baking Bites. I’ve been reading Nicole’s blogging way back when she was at SlashFood and while we don’t make a lot of desserts, I always enjoy reading her deliciously sounding recipes and checking out her photography. When I saw a post for ricotta souffles, I figured it would be the perfect sweet use for that delicious local ricotta.
Vanilla Ricotta Souffle from Baking Bites
- 6 Tbsp butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup flour
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp milk or cream
- 12 oz fresh ricotta cheese
- 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- Toppings (see notes)
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Butter six ramekins (8 oz) and then sprinkle sugar on the bottoms and sides of the ramekins.
- Bring the water, butter, and salt to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan.
- Add the flour to the saucepan, stir well with a wooden spoon until the dough forms. The dough will be soft, thick, and a bit shiny.
- Stir continuously for one minute, and then turn off the heat and transfer the dough to the bowl of a mixer.
- Mix at low speed for 2-3 minutes to cool the dough down.
- Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each yolk.
- Turn the mixer up to medium-high for one minute to finish incorporating all of the yolks.
- Mix in the vanilla, milk or cream, and ricotta.
- Transfer the egg yolk mixture to another large bowl.
- Clean the mixer bowl and beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.
- Increase the mixer to high and add the sugar gradually, beating well until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
- Fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk and ricotta mixture, mixing gently with a spoon until you don’t see streaks of egg whites.
- Divide the batter among the ramekins. Level the tops.
- Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and set.
Notes: These were delicious. I can’t wait to experiment with the recipe and add other flavors. I think these would work well with a wide variety of extracts. Lemon or orange would be wonderful. Lavender would be delightful. As the recipe is written, they are rather plain (which isn’t a bad thing), but if you want something more, add some berries and whipped cream.
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