This recipe for a seasonal and decadent brunch was initiated by some plump, luscious Bursa figs I picked up on my weekly shop. Look at them. Thin purple skin, bulging ruby-red sweet flesh. You would be forgiven for wanting to eat these straight as they come but I have thoughts on this.
You see whilst I will happily eat raw figs when in season, they taste (I think) even better when roasted. A simple job it is too, with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of orange flower water to add to the heady floral scent of the baked fruit.
I made some delicious but rather fiddly pistachio tuiles to accompany my last batch of baked figs (a recipe for Turkish delight figs from Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat).
On this occasion, I was thinking of ricotta, walnuts and honey – a more European than Middle eastern affair.
Ricotta is a soft Italian curd cheese may be produced from sheep, cow or buffalo milk. Traditionally made from whey (as a byproduct of mozarella production), it is produced by fermenting and cooking the whey to harvest the remaining milk solids.
However you can make this cheese at home with vastly less quantities of milk product by using whole milk and using lemon juice or citric acid to separate out the curds. It is quick, easy and yields a soft, slightly sweet cheese that has a multitude of uses in both savoury and sweet dishes, from pasta sauce, lasagnes to cakes and ice cream. There are a wide range of methods out there, but this one seemed the most simple and failsafe. It is a fairly similar process to making your own Paneer Cheese, though Ricotta is generally served soft, whilst paneer would be pressed till it can be sliced into cubes.
We decided to bake our ricotta but if you prefer it softer, scoop it into a bowl with some granola and the baked figs. In either case, lashings of honey are in order.
- 1l whole milk
- half teaspoon citric acid
- pinch of salt
- 4 figs
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 6 sprigs of thyme
- 1 teaspoon orange flower water
- 4 tablespoons nutty granola
- In a saucepan, heat the milk until it reaches 94DegC (200DegC). Be sure to keep stirring with a wooden spoon to stop the milk from scalding.
- Take the milk of the heat and add the salt and citric acid.
- The milk will start to separate - leave it for 10 to 15 minutes in the pan to separate.
- Ladle the curds into a cheesecloth (or muslin) lined sieve. Allow the curds (ricotta) to drain for around 30 to 60 minutes (depending on how solid you want the cheese).
- Preheat oven to 180 Deg C (350 Deg F).
- Grease 4 mini ramekin pots
- Transfer the cheese to a bowl. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the honey and the leaves of 2 thyme sprigs.
- Spoon the curds into greased ramekin pots
- Cut the figs cross wise down to about 1cm from the end so they will open up like flowers when baked.
- Sprinkle with orange flower water and a tablespoon of honey
- Bake the ricotta and figs for around 20 minutes until the ricotta is starting to brown
- Place a tablespoon of granola in each serving bowl.
- Remove the ricotta and figs from oven.
- Carefully loosen ricotta from the ramekin and place on granola
- Garnish with figs and remaining honey.
More inspiration on using Ricotta from Food52
This Lemon and Mint Ricotta from Helen
These Tomato and Ricotta tarts from Katie
This Mushroom and Black Garlic Pate from Michelle
Ricotta and spinach tortellini from Margot
Pumpkin with ricotta and spinach Lasagne from Emily
And a delicious Fig and Honey Ice Cream from Laura
Don’t forget –
As well as our own content, we curate and share the best food content we can find for our Facebook page. Why not follow us?
And we have pictures of our recipe development over on our instagram feed.
And don’t forget you can sign up to our mailing list and receive our posts in your inbox.