Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pere con Ricotta

Pere con ricotta--simple translation from Italian is pears with ricotta. Ricotta cheese is widely used in Italian cooking in everything from appetizers to desserts. It is a very soft, low-fat cheese that is actually a by-product of cheese making because it is made from the whey that has been separated from the curd in the process of actually making cheese. It is in fact technically a dairy product rather than an actual cheese because of this fact. Ricotta translates as recooked and was originally made in Rome when it was discovered that the whey could be reheated, then strained, thereby getting it’s name. To learn more about ricotta click here.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ginger spice or 1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • .5 tablespoon lemon juice or zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 firm pears peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • .75 cup ricotta
  • dash of cinnamon
  • handful of fresh berries--your choice


  • medium saucepan or skillet
  • slotted cooking spoon (wood, nylon or other heat resistant material)

In a medium saucepan or skillet bring the water, ginger, sugar and lemon to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pears and when the mixture returns to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain the simmer. Stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon. Continue to cook the pears until they are very soft to the touch of a utensil. (This may take up to 15 minutes, but your patience will be rewarded.) Remove the pan from the heat and using a slotted spoon divide the pears between two dessert cups or ice cream dishes.

Return the pan to the stove and add the ricotta and cinnamon to the warm syrup mixture. Stir until very smooth. Top the pears with the warm cheese mixture, then place a few berries over each serving. ***I suggest using cold berries. The sensation caused by the difference in temperature between the berries and the other component of the dessert adds an element of surprise to this dish.

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