Summer Berries and Tre Stelle® Smooth Ricotta

 

We Canadians wait most impatiently for our little slice of summer.  It seems like it always takes forever to get here, and then if you blink, it’s all over.  So while we have those precious days of summer, we need to make the most of them.

 

I remember as a child, going with my parents to “pick your own’ farms for strawberries.  We’d join other families as they ambled up and down rows of berry patches, filling up their quart baskets, trying really hard not to eat what they had just picked.  Or at least, that was the situation for me!

 

And then in later years, we had moved to a home in southern Ontario, with enough property in the backyard to have a proper garden.  The kind of garden that causes hours of tolling as our assignments of weeding and picking never seemed to let up the entire season.

 

Along with strawberries, we had quite a huge raspberry bush, and then there were all the melons, and stone fruit trees like cherry and peach.  Even a pear tree or two could be found in our backyard.  Often I could be found up in a cherry tree, eating all the ripe cherries, till I came down with the inevitable stomach ache.  I never learned!!

 

There are so many recipes for berries.  Pies, crisps, cobblers, compotes, jams, jellies, and cakes.  So today, I thought I’d share an easy to whip up biscuit that can be topped with either berries or stone fruit.

 

The biscuit is a simple flakey recipe that uses Tre Stelle® Ricotta. It works so well here, and gives the final biscuit such a tender texture.  While the fruit is macerating in a combination of simple syrup and bourbon (which you can cook off to remove any alcohol if needed), you will whip up some more Ricotta with heavy cream and sugar.

 

Then it’s just a matter of layering.  A fresh biscuit is topped with the whipped Ricotta, and then the softened and flavoured berries are spooned over the cream and biscuit.  This fresh dish is perfect for a summer brunch or dessert.

Later in the season, when stone fruits are at their peak, why not replace the berries with sliced apricots, nectarines or peaches and plums?

 

Enjoy all our Canadian summers have to offer, and make it all the more special with Tre Stelle® cheeses!

 

Berries and Whipped Ricotta over Flakey Ricotta Biscuits

Biscuits:

3/4 cup Tre Stelle® Extra Smooth Ricotta

1/4 cup kefir or buttermilk, plus more for brushing the tops

2 cups All Purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

8 tbsp (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

 

Whipped Ricotta

1/2 cup Tre Stelle® Extra Smooth Ricotta

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tbsp cane sugar

1 tsp bourbon (optional)

 

Berries

2 cups fresh berries, cleaned and sliced (can use strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or even apricots, nectarines or peaches)

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

2 tbsp bourbon

2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

 

Instructions:

 

Biscuits:

Place oven rack in centre position and preheat the oven to 425F.

Whisk the Ricotta and kefir or buttermilk together in a small bowl.

In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and blend for about 2-3 seconds.  Scatter the butter cubes over the flour and blend till the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Transfer to a large bowl.

Add the Ricotta mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead until it all comes together.  If needed, you can add an extra bit of flour.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12 inch square. Using a bench scraper or spatula, fold 1/3 over to the middle.  Then fold the other side over, like folding a letter.  Then fold this in half.  You should have a rough 4 inch square.

Press down with the rolling pin and repeat this process one more time.

Roll into an 8 1/2 square.

Trim 1/4 inch off of all sides, with a sharp knife in clean strokes.  Do not cut back in forth in a sawing motion, as this will close up the layers, and the biscuits will not rise properly.

Cut the 8 inch square into 9 even square biscuits.  Cut using the same motion as above, do not cut back and forth.  Clean cuts will allow the biscuits to rise perfectly in the oven.

Transfer these to a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch in between each.

Brush the tops with some more kefir or buttermilk.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until well risen and a lovely golden brown colour.  Rotate the pan half way through the baking.  Let cool for 5 minutes.

 

Berries:

In a small pot, heat the sugar and water over medium high heat.  Once the sugar is completely dissolved, you can add the bourbon, and cook for another 3 minutes or so.  This will allow the alcohol to burn off.  If you are serving adults, you can remove the sugar syrup off the burner and cool slightly before adding the bourbon.  Let cool.

Place the berries into a medium sized bowl.  Pour the syrup over them and let them rest for 15 minutes. (If using stone fruit, let them rest for 30-60 minutes)

 

Whipped Ricotta

With a hand held mixer or in a stand mixture, combine the Ricotta, heavy cream, and sugar.  Beat until starting to thicken.  Add the bourbon if using.  Continue beating until it has become thickened.

 

Assembly:

Place one biscuit per person on a plate.  Spoon some of the whipped Ricotta over the biscuit.  Spoon some of the berries over everything.  Top with chopped mint.  Enjoy!

 

Barbecue with Tre Stelle

The time for outdoor entertaining, family get-togethers and barbecues has arrived! Sometimes it seems slow in coming, but who can help but feel that sense of anticipation as the days get longer?

No matter what the occasion – whether it’s a dinner for two under the stars or a sun-drenched brunch in the garden – there can be no question that the barbecue will always play a starring role in our summers. It’s the perfect opportunity for get togethers.

The great thing about barbecues is that simple, laid-back, no-fuss atmosphere that allows us to spend time with our guests without having to run off to check something in the oven or put the finishing touches on fancy plating. It’s so nice to be able to keep things simple where we can quickly throw together a variety of unexpected hot dishes, even if you aren’t an expert in the kitchen or a great fan of cooking! There’s no excuse not to give it a try – in fact, some people who never set foot in front of the stove turn into avid chefs in the summer, thanks to the barbecue.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BWaEwvFAQc9/?taken-by=trestellecheese

Beyond the traditional meat, fish and vegetable dishes, you can experiment with recipes that are more elaborate and creative, but still not difficult. So, it’s time to venture into new culinary territory, surprise our taste-buds, swap in some new ingredients, and put a new twist on old favourites. Remember: it often only takes one little addition to make a huge difference, in both taste and presentation.

Keep in mind that most ingredients are perfect for the barbecue, from appies to desserts. Play around with your favourite flavours, choose seasonal fruits and vegetables to add cheerful accents of colour to your menu and turn delicious summer soups into unforgettable experiences.

Time to whet our appetites!

Here are 3 original recipes perfect for the barbecue.

  1. Greek salad with Grilled Feta
  2. Polenta, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Kebabs
  3. Grilled Strawberries with Mascarpone Cream

 

Greek salad with Grilled Tre Stelle® Feta

12-15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 large English cucumber, finely sliced

¼ red onion, finely chopped

3 tbsp. Kalamata olives

1 tub Tre Stelle® Feta

Olive oil

Salt and oregano to taste

 

Season a piece of Feta Cheese with 2 generous tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of oregano, then wrap the cheese in foil and cook it on the barbecue for 2-3 minutes on either side;  In the meantime, put the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and olives on a platter and season them with a few spoonfuls of olive oil, a pinch of salt and oregano to taste;

Place the unwrapped barbecued Feta with its seasoning on top of the vegetable salad, using two spoons as the cheese will be quite soft.

Serve immediately. 4 servings

 

Polenta, Prosciutto and Tre Stelle® Bocconcini min mini Kebabs

250 mL of water

5 heaped tablespoons of quick-cooking polenta

4-5 thin slices of prosciutto

Tre Stelle® Bocconcini mini mini

A few fresh mint leaves

Salt, olive oil

 

Bring the water to a boil in a pot and add a pinch of salt;

Lower the heat and sprinkle in the polenta, stirring with a whisk;

Let it cook for 5 to 6 minutes, adding a few more drops of water if necessary;

Pour it into an oiled baking pan: you want it to be quite thick. Allow it to cool completely;

As soon as the polenta has cooled and set, cut it into squares;

Brush the squares with oil and put them on the barbecue for about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side; assemble the kebabs with a mint leaf, a ball of Bocconcini, half a slice of prosciutto and two pieces of grilled polenta.

Serve the kebabs or, if you are preparing them in advance, keep them in the refrigerator. 4 servings

 

Grilled strawberries with Tre Stelle® Mascarpone Cream

3 eggs

6-7 tbsp. of sugar

250 g Tre Stelle mascarpone

A few drops of lemon juice

12-16 strawberries (depending on the size of the berries)

 

Separate the egg whites and yolks into two bowls; Add 3 heaping tablespoons of sugar to the egg yolks and beat until you get a frothy, uniform, pale yellow cream. Set aside;

Gently fold the mascarpone into the egg yolk and sugar mixture;

Add the lemon juice to the egg whites and, using a hand mixer, beat them until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture, taking care to keep it light and airy; Cover the mascarpone cream with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it; Coat the strawberries with the remaining sugar, put them on skewers and grill them on the barbecue for about 1 minute on either side; Serve the strawberry skewers with the mascarpone cream. 4 servings