Recipe Drop from DFC: Festive Ricotta Fritters

The cheese gods continued to smile on me (thank you) last week, when another recipe drop from DFC (Dairy Farmers of Canada) arrived on my doorstep, by the lovely food photographer Beth Dunham, no less. I was told in advance what the recipe would be this time, and was provided with the link to check it out. Thankfully, it was for a savoury appetizer (we remember what happened last time with the baking incident), called Mediterranean Ricotta Fritters. The recipe looked ridiculously simple… maybe even fool proof, but it still required baking something in the oven, which can be hit or miss with me.  I prefer to take many liberties while cooking… throwing in ingredients here and there, or changing things up. Baking doesn’t lend well to that.

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Everything needed for the recipe is pre-measured and dropped off. The first change I made was that, instead of adding just chopped herbs (parsley), I used the basil-arugula pesto that I had made a couple days before. This was incorporated into the batter. The batter recipe was so minimal, really just flour, an egg, ricotta cheese, Canadian Swiss cheese, a little bit of nutmeg, and salt and pepper. You then spoon tiny portions onto a baking sheet and just let them puff up until golden brown. I’m not sure if it was the additional ingredients in the pesto, but mine didn’t really puff up. They kind of did, then cooled flat. They tasted delicious, though, like a mini ricotta pancake. Fritters are normally deep-fried, so perhaps that would have helped.

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The two toppings — tomato sauce and black olive tapenade — were also provided. I livened up the tapenade by adding the life-changing olives we all know about from Pete’s, and a bit of roasted garlic oil. I did have the suggested serving utensil (wonton soup spoons) for a quick photo op, but in reality I took these with me on a board to serve at a potluck I was going to that evening. People liked them.

They are now referred to as Festive Ricotta Fritters because of the green and red. They look kinda, sorta close to the photo on the Dairy Goodness recipe page… right? Watch the steps below.

Ricotta Fritters

Ricotta Fritters

 

She can cook, but she can’t bake

When I was offered a package compliments of Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) a few weeks ago, I jumped at the opportunity. I had heard about other bloggers receiving freebies from DFC in the past — giant parcels full of delicious, assorted Canadian cheeses. I was excited. When my styrofoam cooler arrived, though, it wasn’t full of cheeses. It was full of ingredients, and a printed recipe (developed by local chef Richard Julien). Ingredients to make an all-Canadian dairy cheesecake. Yep… that’s right. They wanted me to bake.

You may have noticed a pattern on my blog. I cook, I eat (a lot), I take photos, I write… I don’t bake. I don’t even particularly eat a lot of desserts. So, yes, I was a bit disappointed with my task, but, nevertheless I didn’t want to anger the powers that control the free cheese. So, I tried.

The task at hand was bumble berry cheesecakes wrapped in phyllo, with sweet creamy strawberry caramel, (as featured on dairygoodness.ca).

Yeah, phyllo. And yeah… cheesecakes… plural. The third problem was the recipe required a muffin tin, which I didn’t have. I figured that one out about half-way through.

So, the cheesecake mixture was easy. It used sugar, cream cheese, sour cream and mascarpone cheese (which I love). We also have an awesome stand-up KitchenAid mixer. I prepped the berries with no incident.

The creamy strawberry caramel sauce? I don’t even want to talk about that. Let’s just say, it didn’t survive.

Onto the phyllo. My first time working with it. I spread the sheet out,  brushed it with butter, being very gentle. I folded it in half, and repeated this action. I folded it in half AGAIN, and brushed it once more. This may sound easy, but it took several minutes. I then had my buttery phyllo square which was meant to go into a muffin tin, and be filled with cheesecake mixture, and topped with the berries.  Okay, cool, I could do that. If I had a muffin tin. I read on… “repeat with remaining ingredients to make 16 cheesecakes.”

SIXTEEN cheesecakes? Not happening.  Just… no. So instead, I made one, small cheesecake, inside a ceramic baking dish. I couldn’t completely wrap the phyllo into the beggar’s parcel shape, but I curled it up around the sides. I looked cute. It still tasted good… and it was the perfect-sized dessert for two people to share.

And... that's when I gave up.

  And… that’s when I gave up.

What did I do with the rest of the filling? Well. There was mysteriously a bag of graham cracker crumbs inside my package, that didn’t seem to have a place in the recipe… so I made a crumb crust, and a regular, berry cheesecake. No phyllo. No tedious, never-ending brushing of melted butter required.

The quitter's cheesecake.

The quitter’s cheesecake.

I may have botched this one up a bit — but I’m still holding out hope for that big bag of Canadian cheeses from DFC. I’m very good at savoury recipes. (Examples here, here and here.)