Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
Plated desserts like this feel so Italian: fresh ricotta, seasonal berries lightly cooked down into a citrus syrup, and crunchy caramelized ciabatta to top it off. It’s very elegant, and unsuspectingly easy to pull together. The beauty of it is that all of these elements can be made in advance – season the ricotta and store it in a container, do the same with the berry syrup, and the sweet sugared croutons will stay very crunchy at room temperature in a plastic bag or covered container. Perfect for your next Italian-themed dinner party!
Ricotta And Berries With Caramelized Croutons
For The Croutons:
- 4 ounces ciabatta loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons sugar
For The Citrus Berry Syrup:
- 1/2 cup orange juice, from 1 medium orange
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup blueberries
- 8 strawberries, hulled and quartered
For The Ricotta:
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 3 teaspoons orange zest, from 1 medium orange
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, from 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium bowl, toss together the bread cubes and melted butter. Add the sugar and toss until the bread cubes are coated in sugar. Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely.;
- For the Syrup:
- In a small saucepan, bring the orange juice, lemon juice, and sugar to a simmer, over medium-low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the blueberries and strawberries and simmer until the fruit softens, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool the syrup to room temperature.
- For the Ricotta:
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well.
- To serve: Divide the ricotta mixture between 4 decorative dessert bowls. Spoon the fruit syrup over the ricotta and top with the croutons. Garnish with the sliced mint.