A sweet baked ricotta is much like a crustless type of cheesecake... although if you're expecting it to be the smooth/rich/creamy cream cheese style of cheesecake, you may be disappointed.
Ricotta cheese's texture definitely isn't the same as cream cheese, so please keep that in mind.It's not bad, it's just different.
And as compared to other, more traditional types of cheesecake, this version is lighter.
Perhaps lemon zest if you serve it with fresh figs and orange zest if you plan to roast the figs?
As for fresh figs, they can usually be found between summer and autumn.
I think I prefer the fresh fig variation for summertime, and the roasted style of this dish for the autumn.
I like the idea of a lighter honey for the fresh figs, and a deeper honey for the roasted figs.
Baked Ricotta with Figs
makes 5 servings
15 oz (425 g) whole milk Ricotta
2 T (30 ml) cream
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 c (83 g) brown sugar, packed
Salt, a generous pinch
1 t (5 ml) vanilla extract
5 large, or 10 small fresh, ripe figs
Optional: toasted sliced almonds, walnuts, or pine nuts
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
Butter the bottom and sides of 5, 6 oz (177 ml) ramekins and set aside. Place the ricotta, cream, eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined. Divide the ricotta mixture between the prepared ramekins and bake on the center rack about 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden and the centers are set.
Remove the ramekins from the oven and let cool at least 10-15 minutes.
The ricottas can be served warm or at room temperature.
To remove the a baked ricotta from the ramekin, place a plate (topside down) over the top of the ramekin. Using both hands and holding tightly, invert both the plate and ramekin so that the ramekin is upside-down over the plate. Continuing to hold tightly, give the ramekin and plate several good shakes until the ricotta falls out of the ramekin and onto the plate.
Garnish with halved figs and drizzle with honey.
Sprinkle with toasted nuts if desired, and serve.
Roasted Fig Variation:
5 large, ripe, fresh figs
1 T (15 ml) honey
1 T (15 ml)water
Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
Remove the stems from the figs and coat the outsides lightly with olive oil (to do so, pour a small amount of olive oil onto one palm, rub your palms together, then massage the outsides of the figs lightly with the oil). Cut the figs from the top almost through the bottom, making two perpendicular cuts to form a cross pattern. Place the figs in a roasting dish and add a dab of butter to the center of each cut fig. Drizzle the figs with the honey.
Roast the figs 10-12 minutes (turn the pan halfway through the cooking time), until they are soft and have fully opened flat.
Turn off the oven and gently remove the figs from the pan. Add 1 T water to the pan, swirl the mixture, and return the pan to the hot oven for about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the oven, and stir the mixture to fully combine the honey sauce.
To serve, place a warm fig on top of each baked ricotta and spoon a little sauce over the top of each.