Ricotta and Vanilla Bean Puddings
- Butter, for greasing the muffin cups
- 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 cups fresh, or frozen and thawed, cranberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 large orange, zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus extra, as needed
For the puddings: Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter 10 nonstick muffin cups and line the bottom of each cup with a disk of parchment paper. Set aside.
In a blender, combine the ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese, eggs, heavy cream, maple syrup, sugar, and salt. Using a paring knife, split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the blender. (Reserve the seeded vanilla pod for the sauce.) Blend the mixture until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until puffed and lightly browned. Remove the muffin cups from the oven to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes (puddings will deflate during cooling). Refrigerate the puddings, in the muffin cups, for 2 hours. Using a thin, flexible spatula, carefully remove the puddings from the muffin cups and discard the parchment paper from the bottom of the puddings.
For the sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the reserved vanilla pod, cranberries, water, orange juice, orange zest and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and gently simmer until the mixture has thickened and the liquid has reduced by half, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod and sweeten with extra sugar, to taste, if necessary.
To serve: Arrange the puddings on small dessert plates and spoon the sauce over the top.
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis