Yield: Serves 8
Turn tomatoes into dessert with this clever recipe from Nicole Rucker’s cookbook Dappled. As Rucker explains, “When the tomatoes cascade like jewels on the vine, and the sun releases their sticky aroma that perfumes the garden, it’s easy to be swept away and forget that all those beautiful rubies are ripening NOW and holy crap they need to be eaten or given up to the birds right NOW. You make sauce, stuff them into thick sandwiches, and eat all the salads you can, but have you ever made them into pudding? Served them for dessert, cuddled up underneath fluffy ricotta biscuits, lightly sweetened but riding that sweet/salty line like a tightrope walker? No? Well, get going!”
Ricotta Biscuit Dough
- 2 1/2cups cake flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into half-inch cubes
- 1cup cold buttermilk, plus more for brushing
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese, drained for at least an hour in a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth
- Ricotta Biscuit Dough
- 2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, stemmed and sliced 3/4 inch thick
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- pinch kosher salt
- 1stick salted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
How to Make It
Prepare the Ricotta Biscuit dough: Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Place the bowl in the freezer to chill for 20 minutes. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and toss to combine. Pinch and smear the pieces of butter between your fingers. Processing the butter like this creates small leaves of butter that layer in the dough, resulting in flakes later. Once all the butter chunks have been pinched, grab small handfuls of flour and butter and rub the two together between the palms of your hands until the mixture resembles uneven pebbles on a sandy beach.
Create a well in the center of the mixture and add 1 cup of the buttermilk. Using a fork, toss the flour and butter from around the edge of the well into the center. Fluff the buttermilk and flour mixture with the fork five or six times, until shaggy looking.
Crumble the ricotta cheese into tablespoon-size chunks over the dough, making sure not to break up the cheese too much. Using your hands with your fingers spread wide open, loosely incorporate the cheese into the dough with a lift-and-gently-squeeze motion. Drizzle the remaining 1 cup of buttermilk over the dough while using the fork to bring the mixture together into a loose and shaggy mass.
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and use your hands to shape the dough into a 10 x 7-inch rectangle. Fold the rectangle in thirds like a letter and then rotate 90 degrees. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough back into a 10 x 7-inch rectangle. Repeat the folding, rotating, and rolling process two more times, ending with the dough shaped into a 10 x 7-inch rectangle of about 1-inch thickness. Wrap the dough with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Return the dough to the work surface and roll it out to about ¾-inch thickness. Cut it into 2-inch squares or use a round 2-inch cutter to make mini-biscuits.
Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a parchment-lined baking sheet on the lower rack of the oven to catch any drips.
Combine the tomato slices, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, nutmeg, flour, and salt in a 2-quart baking dish. Let the tomatoes macerate for 10 minutes.
Dot the tomatoes with the butter and arrange the biscuit dough on top. Brush the biscuits with the heavy cream. Bake the pudding until the biscuits are browned and baked through and the juices from the tomatoes bubble up around the edges of the dish, about 45 minutes. Serve the pudding warm. Any leftovers will keep well at room temperature overnight, but it’s really best eaten the same day.
Reprinted from Dappled by arrangement with Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2019, Nicole Rucker.
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