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Recipe: Fresh Ricotta with Chestnut Honey, Chestnuts, and Pears
Recipe courtesy of The Cheese Course
by Janet Fletcher
Published by Chronicle Books
Fresh Ricotta with Chestnut Honey, Chestnuts, and Pears
Artisan cheesemakers in some communities are producing excellent cow's and sheep's ricottas with a light, creamy texture and the pure taste of sweet milk. They are so fresh and lovely that they deserve to be the focus of a cheese course. Packaged supermarket ricotta pales in comparison.
I like to serve ricotta after the main course with honey or sugar and seasonal fruitó peaches, berries, or figs in summer; apples and pears in fall; apricots and cherries in spring. When chestnuts show up in late fall, try poaching them in light syrup and crumbling them over a mound of ricotta. Surround with sliced red pears and open a bottle of Italian vin santo or other dessert wine.
Chestnuts can be frustrating and tedious to peel. The thin inner skin wants to stick to the nut, even after blanching. You will have an easier time if you keep them in the hot blanching water until you are ready to peel them. It's a good idea to buy a few more chestnuts than you need. The nuts are sometimes moldy inside, or they refuse to be peeled. For best flavor, poach them in the vanilla bean syrup a day ahead.
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