When I was a kid we had a fig tree down the side of our house . It was the side of the house where no one went. It was a huge tree that produced abundant amounts of fruit and this in itself was a reason to avoid the corridor down the side. It was slippery and supported a myriad of insect life feeding on all of the fallen fruit. None of us was in any way convinced to eat that fruit, except for Dad. We considered his taste in food to be questionable to say the least.
He was very friendly with all our neighbours, Greeks, Italians, Yugoslavs and Maltese and they would bring him around treats in exchange for these soft thin skinned bulbs. Burek, Pastizzi, Panforte, and cabbage rolls. All were not to our liking, and as Dad traded his currency of figs for a buffet of international cuisine, we looked on in distaste. How I wish he was still here so that we could laugh about it. He was a fourth generation Australian and yet so open to the culinary influences of our new Australian neighbours. Then there was us, so defiantly the product of our mothers English upbringing and sensibilities. Embarrassing.
This recipe for baked chocolate ricotta with honeyed figs would make my Dad very happy indeed. Its really quite simple yet tastes as decadent as any dessert that may take twice as long to make. It is gluten free but a couple of crumbled crunchy Amaretti would not only add some crispy bits but would give you another level of love altogether ( they are also gluten free). I haven’t added any cream because I consider it to be creamy enough but, if you wanted to add a little cream it wouldn’t hurt or just serve it with cream as I have. Buy a fresh ricotta from the deli counter and don’t go buying a “low fat” one because ricotta is already low fat. Do make sure you blend it in a food processor or blender for best results. I caramelized the figs in a Chestnut honey because I was testing a Chestnut honey product, but if you wanted to make it without the caramelized figs then it would be just as beautiful. I have attached a picture of one made in a loaf tin and served with strawberries chocolate sauce and Amaretti biscuits.
Baked Ricotta with Chocolate and honeyed figs
- 500 gram ricotta cheese fresh cows milk
- 200 gram dark chocolate chopped and melted- I used 70%
- 50 gram dutch cocoa 1/2 cup
- 40 gram castor sugar or to taste, 2 tablespoons
- 2 whole eggs
- 5 ml vanilla
- 6 whole figs
- 125 ml honey 1/2 cup
- Oven 160 C/ 320 F. Use a loaf tin or a 20 cm / 8 in spring form tin lined with baking paper or a loaf tin
- Put the ricotta, cooled melted chocolate, dutch cocoa, sugar, vanilla and eggs into the food processor and process till very smooth
- Spoon into the spring form or lined loaf tin.
- Bake for approx 30-40 minutes. Or till just starting to puff around the edges but still softish in the middle.
- Take out and cool.
- Cut the figs in half.
- Heat a frypan till hot then add 1/2 of the honey and 1/2 of the figs. Cook on medium heat till the figs being to caramelize. The honey will burn if you don't watch it.
- Place the figs into a container and add the cooked syrup. Wipe out the pan and continue with the others. serve with toasted nuts and fruit and grated chocolate or Amaretti biscuits.