Serves Serves 4
If you don’t want to make your own ricotta, you can substitute a good-quality fresh version from the supermarket, but this is so easy to do, you’ll want to give it a try. If using store-bought ricotta, you will need about 1¼ to 1½ cups. This is a perfect make-ahead dish, because all of the components can be prepared a day in advance. Refrigerate the ricotta and blueberries, and store the almonds in an airtight container. This combination is delightful, but you can substitute other berries, such as strawberries or raspberries, if you want.
- 2 quarts milk (preferably organic)
- 1 cup heavy cream (preferably organic)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 pint blueberries
- ½ cup blueberry jam
- ⅓ cup sugar
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the baking sheet
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup slivered almonds
- Sponge cake or pound cake, cut into fingers, for serving
For the ricotta, line a large sieve with a double thickness of damp cheesecloth, and set this over a bowl. Combine the milk, cream, and salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, and slowly bring to a boil.
Add the lemon juice, and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Stir gently until the mixture begins to curdle, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and let sit without stirring for 10 minutes.
Pour the mixture through the cheesecloth, and let drain 1 hour. What’s left in the cloth is the ricotta. Chill until ready to use.
For the blueberries, in a medium saucepan, combine the blueberries, jam, sugar, lemon juice and zest, and bay leaf. Simmer until the blueberries break down and the sauce thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the almonds, butter a baking sheet, or line the baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and ¼ cup water, and bring to a simmer. Without stirring, cook until the sugar is a deep caramel color, swirling the pan occasionally to mix, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and almonds, and mix well. Spread in a thin layer on the baking sheet, and let cool completely. Break into shards once cooled.
To assemble the parfaits, divide the ricotta among four parfait cups or wineglasses. Spoon the blueberry sauce on top. Sprinkle with the candied almonds, and add a cake finger on the side. Serve immediately.