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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cherry-Ricotta Doughnut Holes with Chocolate Sauce

The Altitude Adjustment Section
This is a crazy recipe for a great little treat — give it a try with all sorts of fruit! How about banana slices?

1 cup ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 Tbsp. kirsch (cherry brandy)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
12 cups canola oil, for deep-frying
20 candied cherries, (available in gourmet shops, or you can make your own)
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened chocolate coarsely chopped

In a bowl, whisk ricotta, eggs, and kirsch. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold flour mixture into ricotta mixture to form a batter. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; set aside. Meanwhile, heat oil in an 8-quart heavy-bottomed soup pot (the pot should not be more than 1/3 full) over medium heat until it reaches 350° on a deep-fat thermometer.

Divide batter into 2 batches. Take a spoonful of batter (about 2 teaspoons), stuff a candied cherry in its center, and drop it into hot oil; repeat for the rest of first batch. Fry until golden on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove doughnuts from oil with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Repeat process for second batch. When doughnuts are cool enough to handle yet still hot, roll them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture until well coated.

To make chocolate sauce: In a saucepan, combine cream with 1/3 cup water; simmer over medium heat about 5 minutes. Add sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate. Remove from heat; stir until smooth. Transfer doughnut holes to a platter and serve immediately, with 3/4 cup chocolate sauce on the side for dipping. Refrigerate extra chocolate sauce (about 1 1/4 cups) for up to 1 week.

Fast-candied cherries

1 pound fresh cherries, rinsed, stemmed and pitted
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 lemon
1 cup apple juice

In a non-reactive saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Add the cherries and the lemon half. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the syrup is red and slightly thick, about 20 minutes. Cover and let stand 2-3 hours, or overnight. Strain the cherries, reserving the syrup, and set cherries aside. Discard the lemon half and add the apple juice to the syrup. Bring the syrup to a hard boil and cook for 5 minutes. Return the cherries to the syrup, reduce the heat and cook slowly until the syrup is thick, to about 220 degrees if you are using a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and cool. The cherries can be stored for at least six months covered in the refrigerator.