Honey Dried Fig Baked Ricotta

When you need a last minute appetizer, look past the cheese wheel and make a baked ricotta dip with California dried figs.

When the holidays (and holiday parties) are in sight, it’s a good idea to have an appetizer ace up your sleeve and this ricotta bake recipe is it. You could turn to cheese plates, but warm appetizers are a way to make family and friends cozy. This creamy spoonable cheese usually is associated with lasagna or even as a topping for toast, but that changes now. Sweet California Figs get stirred into the dip and tile the top too. Cover and chill leftovers in the refrigerator and then reheat it in a preheated oven set to 375°F to warm for 5-7 minutes. Try this dip with crackers or crostini.

Dip into honey dried fig baked ricotta with tortilla chips, crostini, or crackers.

Honey Dried Fig Baked Ricotta

Course Appetizer

Ingredients

Baked Ricotta

  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice Mission Figlets or Sun-Maid California Mission Figs, chopped into very small pieces
  • 15 ounces whole milk ricotta
  • 1 large lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Fresh-cracked black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Garnishes

  • 2 tablespoons Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice California Mission Figlets, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon crushed raw pistachios
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh chives, minced
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°degrees. Spray a 1-quart baking dish well with cooking spray.

  2. In a large bowl, combine ricotta, lemon zest and juice, honey, chives, garlic, salt, and a generous amount of black pepper. Mix well to fully combine. (NOTE: figs can slightly discolor the ricotta as it bakes, so I do not combine them into the mixture.)

  3. Work in layers to prepare the dish. Place 1/4 of the ricotta mixture into the baking dish, and then 1/3 of the figs. Repeat. The top layer should be ricotta mixture.

  4. Drizzle dip with olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until hot. Remove from oven. Drizzle with a little bit more olive oil, and garnish with sliced figs, crushed pistachio, and remaining chives. If desired, add a little more fresh-cracked black pepper.

  5. Serve with crackers or bread. Best served immediately while hot, but also delicious at room temperature.

Recipe and photos by Karyl Henry

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Watermelon Pizza with Balsamic Fig Glaze

Get ready for your next favorite summer appetizer: watermelon pizza with balsamic fig glaze.

Is there anything more essential to summer than cool, crisp slices of watermelon? They’re juicy and just what you want to eat for a healthy dessert… but if you’ve ever tried a sprinkle of salt on watermelon, you know how it amplifies the sweet fruity flavor. We’ve got a fun way to bring a whole watermelon to the table differently as an appetizer: watermelon pizza! Top each slice with feta cheese crumbles, fresh oregano leaves (or use shredded fresh basil / mint leaves), and crunchy Maldon salt, but what makes these slices sizzle is the balsamic fig glaze made of California Figs. You’ll find this glaze to be just about perfect for drizzling on a wheel of Brie, to serve on a cheese board, or even to drizzle on grilled meat.

Watermelon Pizza with Balsamic Fig Glaze

Course Appetizer
Servings 36 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Mission Figs
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (10-pound) watermelon
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, (3.5 ounces)
  • Oregano leaves
  • Maldon flaky sea salt

Instructions

  1. To make balsamic fig glaze: stem and mince the figs. Pour the vinegar into a small saucepan. Stir in the figs and sugar. Turn the heat onto medium high and cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool for 10 minutes.

  2. Slice the watermelon into six 1-inch rounds. Cut each watermelon round into six wedges.

  3. Drizzle the balsamic fig glaze over the slices and sprinkle on feta, oregano, and Maldon salt.

Recipe and photo by Annelies Zijderveld