For the past three weeks I’ve been under house arrest. Okay, okay…maybe not house arrest. I haven’t had any brushes with the law or anything…BUT I have been home for three weeks straight. Two due to a lovely case of the walking pneumonia I contracted and then this past week, just as I was already crawling out of my skin from being trapped in my house by infirmity and lethargy, to tend to my older child, who almost coughed out her own left lung due to a bad, bad, bad…did I mention bad?….cold.
Needless to say, I’ve watched more Netflix and Hulu than I would ever like to admit.
Finally, this past Friday, Alexia and I both got a clean bill of health. We were no longer contagious. We were no longer going through a box of tissues in an hour. We were no longer alienating loved ones from excessive hacking and sneezing. Yay.
All this to say, I didn’t have to cancel a dinner invitation I had made in a fleeting moment of optimism during my third week of house arrest…between Homeland episodes, clearly.
As excited as I was at the idea of seeing my dear friends, I nevertheless was still feeling rather nebbish…dinner would have to be simple and casual.
Thanks to my friend, Jorge, we took care of the main meal in the morning, when he came over to show me how to make a Spanish pork dish (the post on this delicious recipe will appear soon). So besides roasting potatoes, which takes all of 10 active minutes to prepare, I just needed a no-fuss dessert that still communicated how happy I was to be breaking bread with people I love. So it needed to be festive and it needed to be easy…what to do…
And then it cam to me….ricotta pudding! But of course! And then I remembered the blueberries I still had in my freezer from when my wonderful neighbor let me and my gremlins have a go at his blueberry bushes. I will accompany it with blueberry compote. But of course.
And so it was.
It took me all of 15 minutes to put together, allowing me time to rest on the couch with a nice cup of tea, so that I would have energy to enjoy my husband and friends.
Now I paired the ricotta pudding with the blueberries because I still have so many in my freezer…but this ricotta pudding is really a creamy, airy and decadent-tasting blank canvas on which you add any topping that makes your heart aflutter.
For instance, you can omit the lemon zest from the whipped cream and add dark chocolate shavings instead, topping it with some fresh strawberries or a thick, gooey hot fudge sauce. Or you can add instant coffee granules to the ricotta and then dust the finished dessert with a little powdered cocoa. It’s all good, clearly, and for all this flexibility, I can’t think of an easier, no-cooking-or-baking-required dessert.
I found some really delicious versions of this tasty pudding online. Here’s a version that requires baking and that includes strawberries. Or a version that uses roasted grapes…yum! And last but not least, a version that uses glazed rhubarb. They all look wonderful!
making ricotta pudding
Place 2 cups of homemade or store bought whole milk ricotta (the equivalent of 1 15-oz. container of store bought ricotta) ricotta in a sieve over a medium-sized bowl.
Using a large spoon, press the ricotta through the sieve.
Doing so aerates the ricotta,
which gives it a lighter, airier texture, and removes any lumps it may contain.
Add 2 tablespoons of Marsala wine.
Mix well with a whisk.
Place 1 ¾ cups heavy whipping cream, the zest of 1 lemon, and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in a large bowl (I used my stand mixer’s bowl).
Whip until the cream creates stiff peaks, and then fold it into the ricotta mixture.
Spoon into individual serving bowls and top with a generous serving of warm (not hot!) blueberry compote. Makes 10 servings.