Late last year, we had the pleasure of chatting with food journalist Sara, aka SproutedKitchen.com, about the craft of Wisconsin cheesemaking and her ideas about good ingredients and whole-food-centric recipes – such as these Wisconsin Ricotta & Roasted Pear Tartines – a seasonal adaptation of the delicious Plum Tartines recipe in her cookbook, Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods.
On Wisconsin Cheese:
From dairy farmer to cheesemaker to cook, I am inspired by the people in Wisconsin who are truly passionate about Wisconsin Cheese and everything that goes into making it. As a consumer and a cook, this positive environment of people creating a wonderful product attracts me to Wisconsin Cheese. Of course the flavor matters, but when cheesemakers put so much pride and work into their craft, flavor comes naturally. In particular, I loved the Alpine-style cheese Pleasant Ridge Reserve. It is a wonderful melting cheese and perfect for winter cooking – roasting root vegetables, squash and Brussels sprouts. A bit shaved on top is incredible – nutty and creamy.
On Pairing Wisconsin Cheese:
Currently, I have been making a light drink with gin, sparkling water, a splash of rhubarb syrup from Quince & Apple in Wisconsin and a slice of orange. It’s herbal from the gin and has a hint of sweetness from the syrup. Because this is the season for staying inside and having friends over or hosting cocktail parties, I’ve been experimenting with pairing this beverage and some easy cheese dips lately. Much like the tartine recipe, I enjoy mixing Wisconsin Ricotta with a bunch of herbs and citrus zest, and serving it with garlic-rubbed crostini, sliced apples and a vegetable crudité. Next I want to try a cheese dip with cranberry and pomegranate relish mixed in. Another one of my favorite cheese dips, which shines as a lighter dessert option, is a spread of Wisconsin Mascarpone, cinnamon and honey served with Bosc pears.
by Sara of Sprouted KitchenServes 8The pears cook down to concentrate their juices, offering the perfect sweet contrast to creamy Wisconsin Ricotta. If you’re making this recipe in the summer, try using plums or peaches.2 ripe pears
1 tablespoon melted butter
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups Wisconsin Ricotta
1/4 cup grated Wisconsin Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 whole grain baguette
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup micro-greens, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper. Cut the pears into eight slices each. Gently toss the pears with the melted butter, a pinch of sea salt and brown sugar. Spread them on the baking sheet. Bake on the upper rack for 20 minutes until the edges are crisped and caramelized.
While the pears bake, mix the Ricotta with the Parmesan, chives, parsley, salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Turn the oven up to 500°F, slice the baguette in half lengthwise and bake the bread for 4 minutes until just toasty. Spread the ricotta cheese mixture on both halves and put it back in the oven for another minute or two to warm through.
Evenly distribute the pears on top of the cheese and drizzle with honey. Finish with a few grinds of fresh pepper, spread the greens on top and cut the baguette into pieces on a bias (45° angle). Serve warm or at room temperature.
Check out Sara’s other recipe creations for Wisconsin Cheese: