Give creamy, rich ricotta the crême brûlée treatment and you've got the fastest, fanciest dessert for all your summertime entertaining needs. This is a four-ingredient situation that comes together in minutes. It requires so little of you that you'll wonder what you did to deserve such goodness.
Mix ricotta with honey and lemon zest, pile it into ramekins, sprinkle each with sugar, and broil until golden and bubbling. You just created a versatile treat that's as fit for Saturday night with friends as it is a Monday evening out on the porch.
Sweet and seasonal fresh raspberries add color and juiciness, but just about any summer fruit will do. Consider adapting the recipe as you work your way through all the fresh fruit that will hit the farmers market in the months ahead. Pitted and halved cherries, chopped peaches, and every kind of berry would be just as good here.
This Is the Time to Splurge on High-Quality Ricotta
This quick dessert is meant to be as simple as it gets, but there's one little secret that ensures it will be as delicious as possible. Since the recipe calls for just a few ingredients, the quality of those ingredients really does count. Here, it's all about the ricotta, so now is not the time to reach for the subpar stuff found in cheap tubs at the grocery store (which is usually grainy and flavorless anyway).
Instead, splurge on rich and creamy high-quality whole-milk ricotta, and you'll be greatly rewarded. If you can, head to your local Italian market, or look for ricotta at the farmers market. This may sound fussy, but trust me on this — it's the move you want to make to achieve the tastiest results.
Prep time: 5 minutes ; cooking time: 5 minutes to 10 minutes
(16 ounces) high-quality whole-milk ricotta cheese
finely grated fresh lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
Fresh raspberries, for serving (optional)
Place the ricotta, lemon zest, and honey in a large bowl and stir to combine. Divide among 4 (6-ounce) ramekins and place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Evenly sprinkle the tops with the sugar.
Arrange an oven rack in the highest position. Place the baking sheet on the rack and turn on the broiler. Broil until the ricotta is golden-brown and bubbling, 5 to 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a kitchen torch to brown the tops of the ricotta. Let cool for 10 minutes. Top with raspberries, if using, and serve.
Make ahead: The ricotta mixture can be made and divided among the ramekins up to 1 day ahead of time. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to broil.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Topping options: Just about any summer fruit is a perfect topping for this dessert. Fresh berries, chopped peaches or plums, and halved cherries are all wonderful options.