A Ricotta Revelation
One of the many things I love about Costco is that you never quite know what you might stumble upon. There are some things we’re devoted to—like the prosciutto di Parma, the jarred hot peppers stuffed with provolone, the big block of extra-sharp Cabot cheddar and the giant bags of Stacy’s Pita Chips—but there are also new discoveries every time. This weekend, it was the 17-and-a-half-ounce tub of ricotta imported from Italy. I was trying to think of a new vehicle for all the great berries that are in season now, having already exhausted my repertoire of shortcakes, Pavlovas, crisps, coffee cakes and muffins. Cheesecake seemed like a good idea, and I found a great muse: The Splendid Table's Lynne Rossetto Kasper, by way of one of her wonderful books, The Italian Country Table. I adapted the filling of her Easter Ricotta Tart (Torta di Pasqua), mixing my ricotta with 2 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of cream, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and the finely grated zest of 1 large lemon. I spread the mixture in a little oval baking dish and tucked in a few raisins in, as she suggests. (She also adds chunks of chocolate, which must be perfect for Easter, or any other time—but not when I had berries on my mind.) I popped the dish in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes, until it jiggled only slightly when I shook it. We tasted it warm, and it was dreamy—creamy and lemony, like a warm pudding. Then we let it cool and had it for dessert with a mountain of berries—and it was divine.