Blackberries with Sweet Spiced Ricotta
Made with plump glossy berries, this is a simple but impressive dessert. Light and creamy ricotta cheese is sweetened with sugar laced with blackberry-friendly spices – coriander, vanilla, cloves, fennel and a hint of pepper. There is more spiced sugar than you need, but it can be stored indefinitely and adds intriguing flavour to all kinds of desserts. It's fine to use plain caster sugar if you prefer. If you can't get hold of ricotta, use organic cream cheese or thickly whipped cream instead.
Spiced Sugar (see separate recipe below)
ricotta cheese 250g, drained if very wet
scented geranium or lavender buds to decorate
1) Quickly dunk the blackberries in a bowl of cold water, drain well, then spread out in a single layer on paper towels to dry.
2) Stir 3 tablespoons of the spiced sugar into the ricotta, mixing well. Leave for 30 minutes to allow the flavour to develop.
3) Arrange the black berries on serving plates and sprinkle with a little sugar (spiced or plain). Add a blob of the spiced ricotta and decorate with a tiny flower of your choice.
Using a mortar and pestle, grind to a powder 6 cloves, ½ tsp coriander seeds, ½ tsp fennel seeds and ¼ tsp black peppercorns. Stir the mixture into 175g sugar, along with the seeds scraped from a split vanilla pod. Store in a screw-top jar and use as needed.
Recipe © Christine McFadden adapted from Healthy Fruit Desserts published by Little, Brown