ricotta mousse with almond crumble, figs and orange rinds in syrup

Some say that ricotta is a dairy and not a cheese but what difference does it make? Ricotta is marvellous, anyway!


ingredients for 4 servings (cost about 2€ pp)
  • 50 g pastry flour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 50 g butter (cut in 6 pieces and softened at room temperature)
  • 50 g sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 250 g ricotta
  • 100 g whole liquid cream (min 30% fats)
  • a little icing sugar
  • 4 ripe figs
  • a few orange rinds in syrup and mint leaves for decoration

Normally I would start the article by “It makes none, but now you have gone”, as the subtitle reminded me of the Smiths masterpiece “What difference does it make?”. But today I will keep a serious profile.

Today´s dish is one of those delicious homemade desserts, prepared in no time, as the DG philosophy suggests.

If you do not already have in your fridge orange rinds in syrup, made with the leftovers of the squeezed oranges you use for your morning juice, shame on you.

I remind you how easy it is to make them. Before squeezing the oranges (only the outer orange part, not the inner white part) for your daily juice, we peel them and keep the peels. We cut them in julienne rinds.

We immerse the rinds in a saucepan with boiling water and let them simmer for about 15 minutes, so that they soften and their bitterness is gone, then we drain them and cool them under running cold water.

We weigh the rinds and we measure 5 times their weight in sugar and 7,5 times in water. We mix sugar with water and a few lemon drops in the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. As soon as the syrup reaches the boiling point, we stop stirring, then we add the rinds and cover with a lid. We let them simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, covered and without stirring, then we remove them from the heat and we allow to cool. We keep the rinds in the syrup in the refrigerator to let them infuse.

After that, we place the ricotta in a sieve and let it strain in the fridge, as it needs to be free of its liquids.

To make the crumble – another ridiculously easy preparation (even the ingredients have all the same weight!) – we just have to put flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine (about 10 pulses). We then add butter pieces and half the almonds and process until mixture forms large crumbly balls. We add the remaining almonds and pulse 2-3 times to combine.

We spread the crumble dough on a baking sheet covered with parchment and we bake on the middle part of a preheated oven at 170 C – static function (or 150 C for fan function) for 25-30 min or until it is golden browned and firm, rotating baking sheet halfway during baking. We let the crumble cool.

After the ricotta has strained well, we pass it from a fine sieve, by pressing it with a spoon or spatula, repeating the operation 2-3 times to make it creamier, then we gradually sieve icing sugar over it, mixing them together, until we end up with a velvety cream. We taste to check sweetness. We use more or less sugar, according to taste. If our figs are too sweet – especially after they have been soaked in the syrup, we ‘d better use less sugar for the cream than usual or even omit it.

We whisk the liquid cream to whip it. (We make sure that both cream and utensils are well chilled) and we add it to the ricotta cream in two batches, folding gently with a spatula and incorporating it with slow circular movements.

If we like we can add to the cream some of our candied orange rinds, finely chopped.

We keep the cream in the fridge covered with cling film until the moment of use.

Finally, we peel and cut the figs in horizontal discs and we soak them in the orange syrup for a few minutes, depending on their ripeness. If they are not very ripe, we soak them for a longer time.

In tall glasses, we arrange layers of crumble and ricotta mousse. We top with a few soaked figs, some orange rinds and we decorate with mind leaves.

We always serve cool.

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