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Baked Ricotta Custard with Cherries in Port Wine with Star Anise

Baked Ricotta Custard with Cherries in Port Wine with Star Anise
Away from the Kitchen by Dawn Blume Hawkes;
Recipe by Chef Gail Gand

The natural sweetness of the port is enough for this light dish, and the frozen sour cherries are perfect when fresh fruit is not available.

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Baked Ricotta Custard with Cherries in Port Wine with Star Anise

Ingredients

Scale

Ricotta Custard

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup fresh ricotta

2 eggs

1 egg white

1/2 teaspoon Rain’s Choice pure Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup coarse sugar (Con AA or Sugar in the Raw) (Con AA is available at cake-decorating and craft stores; Sugar in the Raw is available at most grocery stores)

Cherries in Port

3 cups port wine 1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

1/2 Vanilla Bean

2 cups frozen sour cherries, thawed and drained, juice reserved

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F

Ricotta Custard

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and cream until light, smooth, and fluffy.

Add the ricotta and continue mixing.

Gradually add the eggs, egg white, and vanilla extract, mixing after each addition. Mix in the sugar and cream.

Pour the batter into an ovenproof baking dish and place in a water bath.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the custard is set but has no color.

Cover and chill the custard until ready to serve.

Makes ten to twelve 4-ounce servings.

Cherries in Port

In a saucepan, place the port, cinnamon, star anise, and vanilla bean. Simmer until reduced to 1 cup.

Add the cherries and heat through.

Mix the cornstarch with the reserved cherry juice and stir it gently into the port and cherries. Cook gently until thickened.

To Assemble and Serve

Just before serving, warm the cherries in a saucepan and reserve.

Spoon the warm cherry-port sauce over the surface of the custard.

Place one of the meringue pillows next to the baked custard.

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Meringue recipe
Makes 10–12 servings

Chef’s note: Instead of the cherry-port sauce, you may also coat the top of the custard with coarse sugar and caramelize with a blowtorch (or under the broiler if you don’t have a torch) for a crisp, crackly, brûléed top.

Patricia Rain
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I was given a small bottle of Rain’s Choice in a gift basket and I have been hooked ever since. The flavor makes all of my baking so much better! I will never use grocery store vanilla again!

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