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db: fig and ricotta tian

March 27, 2010

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

Unfortunately, I got distracted by figs and ricotta and honey. Or perhaps I should say fortunately, because I love figs and ricotta and honey – and this was a perfect opportunity to get them blending…

I’d never tried a fig until I hit the ripe old age of 22.

Shocking isn’t it? And even then, it wasn’t until I’d heard tirades about their floral sweetness, their perfect partnering with all things fresh and savory, their… “Would you just go and eat a fig already? If you don’t eat one in the next month I’ll buy one for you and make you try one!”

They sat in a salad, in the bistro overlooking Bondi Beach. I sat with my mother, sharing a beer, as is our habit when eating anywhere even vaguely resembling a pub.


We stared at them, curious. A swipe with the fork. A corner sliced off with a knife. Then silence. “How is it? What does it taste like?” asked mother, eyes wide with anticipation.

“Mmmmmmmmm…..” came my response.

Then there were figs with cheese and figs with yoghurt. Figs sliced up and paired with salty crackers, crumbly ricotta and fragrant honey. Figs eaten one after the other until my teeth were furry and my tongue sore.

So I threw them together with an orange blossom water and vanilla sable. Spread a meandering layer of figgy compote over the top, piled on a layer of ricotta, yoghurt and honey mousse, and topped it with a layer of fanned figs.

Dark, bitter, crunchy caramel coated fig on the side. A swirl of honey on the plate. Delicious.

Ricotta, Honey & Yoghurt Mousse

If you can’t be bothered assembling a tian, use this mousse as a base to a dessert-in-a-glass and topped with crumbly shortbread, fresh figs and a swirl of honey. Tangy, sweet, floral deliciousness!

You will need:

200ml natural yoghurt
250g fresh ricotta
250ml thickened cream
1tbsp gelatin powder
3tbsp warm water
3tbsp honey

How to do it:

1. Tip your ricotta, yoghurt, cream and honey into a mixing bowl and whisk, whisk, whisk(!) until the ricotta is broken down and smooth and the cream has been beaten into stiffish peaks.

2. Add your gelatin to the warm water and whisk, whisk, whisk(!) with a smaller whisk until it is incorporated and you can’t feel the granules between your fingers if you rub them together.

3. When the gelatin mixture has cooled to not-warm-anymore, add it to the cream mixture and whisk again until incorporated. You could, of course, do steps 1 and 3 in an elextric mixer, as I did, but it’s so simple that a mixer isn’t really required, is it?

4. Tip it into serving glasses or moulds and put in the fridge for four hours or overnight to set.

Handy Hint: if you want to use circular ring moulds, as I have, curl up an overhead transparancy sheet in them first. It will make it easier to remove teh ring mould, and then all you’ll need to do is peel off the plastic!


  • #1
    March 27th, 2010

    Ummm it’s the heavenly trio – figs, honey, caramel… what’s not to love?

  • #2
    March 27th, 2010

    oh i love fresh figs – they’re so soft and sensual and disturbingly sexy. lol. the mini tians are so cute and i love the transparency sheet tip. hellooo office stationery cupboard!

  • #3
    March 27th, 2010

    your tian is so gorgeous!! love how all the figs nicely fanned out like a flower! And that thick layer of ricotta. PHWOAr!!! I WANT ONE NOW! LOL!

  • #4
    March 27th, 2010

    Very nice tian. I think your ricotta version has a bit more body than just cream in the original which gives it shape. Great job.

  • #5
    March 27th, 2010

    Mmm figs, ricotta, honey…. so greek!

  • #6
    March 27th, 2010

    I used to hate figs as a kid, and it wasn’t until I was at Uni and they gave us dried figs as part of the lunch buffet that I decided to give them another try, and I now love them too. Your tian looks fab, and I especially love the toffee covered fig.

  • #7
    March 27th, 2010

    Mmmm love the flavour combination! and hee hee as Billy said – thick layer of ricotta FTMFW!

  • #8
    March 27th, 2010

    Fig and honey? Yes please! Thanks for the tip with the transparency sheet too. Your presentation is superb

  • #9
    March 27th, 2010

    Waw !
    I love your challenge, what a good idea to use Fig 🙂 And the pictures are so beautiful !
    If I could I would have taste it !

  • #10
    March 27th, 2010

    Confession: I didn’t try a fig until a few years ago. It’s just not something that I grew up with. But anyway, your tians (especially the smaller ones) look fantastic. Figs, ricotta and honey sounds like a winning combination.

  • #11
    March 27th, 2010

    What a fantastic and gorgeous looking dessert! It’s too easy to get distracted by figs, isn’t it 🙂

  • #12
    March 27th, 2010

    Wow this is not a fruit I expected to see in this challenge, this sounds absolutely amazing.

  • #13
    March 28th, 2010

    Oooo what a lovely tian you made here… I must admit I haven’t tried figs too (well I had dried figs but I guess that doesn’t count..)

  • #14
    March 28th, 2010

    Oh gosh, I adore figs too. The little fruit shop near me in Oxford got so used to me buying three or four to just eat as they are that I didn’t need to order them! What a wonderful idea to use them here.

  • #15
    March 28th, 2010

    This one gets my vote for “most gorgeous”!! Amazing job!

  • #16
    March 28th, 2010

    OH. MY. GOSH!!! This looks and sounds utterly amazing! I so wish I could have eaten some of this! Fantastic job!!

  • #17
    March 28th, 2010

    Figs! What’s not to love about that! Then add ricotta and honey! Nothing more to say! Fantastic!

  • #18
    March 28th, 2010

    Great idea this figs tian!!! I used a ricotta cream, too…I think that it’s better than whipped cream in this dessert..:-)
    beuatiful tians!!!!
    Kisses
    Ago 😀

  • #19
    March 28th, 2010

    Your version looks amazing even though I am not a fan of figs. Would love to try some of yours though 🙂

  • #20
    March 28th, 2010

    This is absolutely my favourite version of this month’s challenge. I love figs too so will save your recipe until they are in season here. I can’t wait!

  • #21
    March 29th, 2010

    Figs are truly amazing and your story was the perfect introduction for your interpretation of the challenge. This looks fantastic!

  • #22
    March 31st, 2010

    Sooooo pretty! I love figs and this sounds delectable.

  • #23
    April 1st, 2010

    these look so pretty! (: Figs, never really tried them, but looking at these, I really should!

  • #24
    April 10th, 2010

    Absolutely delish – I have such a weakness for figs – they taste great with greek yogurt too.

Shez