Over the past month or 2 the folks at Blue Ribbon have been dropping off mystery boxes for me and 2 other food writers in a campaign of challenges to see who could make the most creative dishes with the most arbitrary of ingredients…and a loaf of bread. I huffed and puffed when I got the first box as there wasn’t any protein in it! Nonetheless I managed to produce a somewhat colourful dish. The second mystery box had chicken! So I was in my element and tried to be less “cheffy” even though the name of the dish was very French cuisine based.
So when the 3rd box arrived last week I said a silent prayer, dessert is a tricky one, it requires the right blend of ingredients in order to pull off a proper dish. I opened the box and inside it was a block of butter, a packet of sugar, a vanilla pod, a loaf of Blue Ribbon bread, a packet of pecan nuts and a slab of Ricotta cheese. I kept digging through the box though, hoping to find some cream or some chocolate or strawberries…something more. I’m starting to think the people at Blue Ribbon don’t like me much.
So I thought the idea through, what could one make with bread, ricotta, vanilla, nuts and sugar? I headed to my stove to fiddle around.
1. I took half the ricotta (about 50g) and placed it on a bowl and proceeded to make it smooth with a fork.
2. I then added the vanilla, a teaspoon of butter to the ricotta and a spoon of sugar.
3. Separately I took the top slice of the loaf (the crusty slice) of Blue Ribbon bread and with a rolling pin I flattened it until it was as thin as possible.
4. I greased the inside of a muffin tin and cut the slice of bread into a large circle and lined one of the cups on the muffin tray with it.
5. I then placed the tray in the oven at 180°C to toast for 10 minutes. This is to prevent the bread going soggy have you fill it. It’s also why I used the crust slice of the load, its more robust.
6. I removed the toast from the oven and proceeded to fill the cup with the ricotta mix. I placed the nuts on top and sprinkled the top with more sugar.
7. I baked it all for another 10 minutes and this was the final outcome…
8. I melted some of the sugar I still had left over and drizzled it on top
I could have plated it better and ideally I would serve it with a custard or ice cream and fruit.
This #BTWSB campaign has been a crazy experience. I’m not used to being limited to a certain amount of ingredients but its been fun. I’ve always loved bread but now I look at sliced bread in a different light. There’s so much you can do with it! It’s super versatile and can be manipulated into whatever you want it to be.