baked ricotta pudding with pluot jam

I was mindlessly flipping through Deborah Madison’s book Local Flavors (She also wrote the gigantic Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, a great reference book for vegetarians and omnivores alike) at work yesterday morning when this recipe – a subtly sweet and ultra-simple baked pudding – caught my eye.  It was the simple pureness of the dish that made me want to make it – a few ingredients beaten together with a wooden spoon.  Without all the sweet bells and whistles, this is all about the ingredients – so make sure you start with the best. 

If cupcakes are your idea of perfect dessert, I can guarantee this little pudding is not for you.  But if you’re more a cheese course type, this would be a perfect concession to something just barely sweet.  Think goat cheese with a drizzle of honey.  Think farmhouse French.  Think understated. 

Part cheese cake, part pot de crème, this ricotta pudding is something all its own.  I served it alongside a pluot jam, which worked well, especially with the slightly floral aroma brought by the apricot half of that fruit equation, so apricots themselves would surely do well here, but I think really any fresh berries or stone fruits would work.

I’m already dreaming up a savory incarnation of this pudding – skip out on the sugar and maybe eat it with roasted tomatoes or come fall, some sort of saucy-slow-braised meat.  Makes 6 puddings and a generous pint of jam – enough for leftovers for morning toast.   

For the Jam

1 lb pluots

¼ cup sugar

Halve the pluots and discard their pits and stems.  Place the halves in a medium sauce pan along with the sugar and cook covered over medium-low heat until the fruit falls apart.  Remove from the heat and cool. 

For the Pudding

Unsalted butter for the ramekins

1 lb whole milk ricotta

1 c crème fraiche or whole milk sour cream

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Freshly grated nutmeg for topping

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter 6 ½ cup ramekins and set aside.  Combine the ricotta, crème fraiche, eggs, yolk, sugar, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl and mix well.  Divide the mixture between the ramekins (1/2 cup in each) and then place the ramekins in a shallow baking dish.  Fill the baking dish with water, so that it comes half way up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake 40-50 minutes until the puddings are set.  Cool and serve slightly warm or at room temperature topped with a generous spoonful of the jam. 

  1. What are pluots? I have never heard of them.

  2. Just figured it out – plums and apricots!!!

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