Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Dessert to Celebrate My New Stove

For the past few months, I've only been able to use the two small burners on my stove. The big ones were busted. I asked my landlord to fix or replace it months ago. First they were waiting for a good used range to appear, then they were waiting for a sale on new stoves, and finally they bought one. It was delivered last week, but there was one small problem. The stove was about half a foot too short for the counter, so the delivery men took it back until someone came in to build up the floor. I nearly lost it. Long story short, as of this afternoon, my shiny new stove is installed and working, and I've cleaned all the sawdust out of my kitchen.

We have a giant tub of mediocre blueberries sitting in the fridge, so one of Giada's dessert recipes caught my eye, because these berries aren't good for anything but sauce. The recipe is for Ricotta with Vanilla-Sugar Croutons and Berry Syrup (pg 175). I made a few variations.

I omitted the croutons altogether, because I didn't feel like going overboard with the dessert. Sweetened cheese and fruit sounded healthier in my head than sweetened cheese and fruit and buttered, sugared bread.

I undermined my own efforts at healthfulness. I needed mascarpone cheese for the recipe I'm making for dinner tomorrow, so I decided to use that instead of ricotta, rather than buying both. I'd never had mascarpone on its own before, but I knew that it was used in tiramisu, and I've seen Giada use it a lot on tv, so I figured it would work just fine. What I didn't realize was that mascarpone tastes like a solid version of heavy cream. I haven't looked at the nutritional stats on the package, because I was already in, but I'm sure they're not in the same ballpark as ricotta.

The instructions say to make vanilla sugar by whirring the contents of a vanilla bean with sugar in the food processor. I didn't feel like buying vanilla beans, so I just added some extract and sugar to the cheese. Then, you zest an orange and a lemon into the cheese. YUM.

For the sauce, dissolve sugar in the juice of the lemon and orange. I used half the sugar that Giada calls for, and I'm glad I did, because it was quite sweet. Honestly, I could have halved the amount that I did use, and I think it would have still been good, if not better. Once the sugar is dissolved, add a heap of blueberries and quartered strawberries, and cook for a few minutes until they're soft.

This dessert was sooooooo good. I know the mascarpone was a mistake, calorie-wise, but man, it was good. The flavor of the cream and the zests stood up to the sweetness of the sauce. I could taste all the flavors individually and as a whole simultaneously. Matt said it was the best dessert ever. He's a blueberry fanatic, though, so take that as you will. I don't miss the croutons.

Conclusion: Loved it. I'll try it again with ricotta.


  1. that dessert really sounds great and it's better with the mascarpone I bet. do you ever cook with turbinado sugar? I really like it with fruit- and its not as sweet as white.

  2. That dessert sounds so decadent and rich with mascarpone! Great substitution.

  3. We use turbinado in coffee, but never tried cooking with it.

  4. Ooooh! You made a naughty little dessert. Keep the mascarpone, love it!

  5. Ei try turbinado in fruit recipes and cooked sauces that call for sugar. I think you will love it because you have commented that some of these recipes you try are too sweet, and in additon to the amount, the refined white sugar is the culprit.

  6. Thanks for the tip, Stacy. It's a good one. I never even thought about using turbinado, but it makes sense. Hmmm...I still have half a tub of crappy blueberries. Maybe I need to revisit this tonight, sans mascarpone. It would be good just on greek yogurt. mmmmm