A note on the ricotta: I highly recommend goat's milk ricotta for the most complex flavor; go the DIY route or look for it at farmers' markets and grocery stores like Whole Foods. However, don't let inaccessibility (or – gasp! – a dislike of goaty flavors) stop you from making it. You can also use a fresh, whole cow's milk ricotta.
1/2 cup (4 ounces) goat ricotta
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 1/2 cups sweet cherries
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3 black peppercorns, crushed (about 1/16 teaspoon ground)
Fresh mint leaves (optional)
Place the ricotta, honey, and vanilla bean in the small bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Meanwhile, halve and pit the cherries. Place in a small bowl with the balsamic vinegar and pepper and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate.
To serve, divide the cherry mixture between two glasses or bowls and top with the ricotta mousse. Garnish with mint and a light dusting of black pepper, if desired.
(Images: Emily Ho)