Baked Ricotta and Goat Cheese with Candied Tomatoes

By • August 12, 2011 65 Comments

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Author Notes: This is another recipe that has my favorite characteristic: easy to make while appearing complex. Simple, but elegant. This is the kind of dish that makes it look like you really know what you are doing in the kitchen. Like you actually are the kind of person who could just throw together a magazine-spread worthy gathering at a moment’s notice.

Don’t skip draining the ricotta or your baked dish will be watery. - TheRunawaySpoon

TheRunawaySpoon

Food52 Review: We're suckers for baked cheese in any form, but TheRunawaySpoon's rendition offers something above and beyond typical comfort food appeal. The tomatoes really do taste like candy -- the brown sugar and vermouth turn to syrup in the pan and cloak the cherry tomatoes, caramelizing their edges as they pop and start to collapse. The whole dish is infused with marjoram, a rich, woodsy herb that is too often overlooked. We recommend perching a slice of the creamy, salty ricotta and goat cheese on a piece of good baguette, and then topping it with a tomato and some syrup for the perfect bite. -A&MThe Editors

Serves 8-10

For the baked cheese

  • 15 ounces whole milk ricotta
  • 4 ounces log goat cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves, or leafy herb of your choice
  • generous grinding of black pepper
  • generous sprinkling of kosher salt

For the candied tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup vermouth
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 sprigs marjoram, or leafy herb of your choice
  • sea salt
  1. For the baked cheese: Place the ricotta in a colander lined with cheese cloth and leave to drain for about 30 minutes, pressing down to help extract liquid.
  2. Preheat the oven 375 degrees. Brush the inside of a 2 cup baking dish with olive oil.
  3. In the small bowl of a stand mixer, beat the ricotta, goat cheese and egg until smooth. Beat in the herbs (chopped if the leaves are large), a generous amount of pepper and salt. Taste your goat cheese first, saltier cheeses require less additional salt.
  4. Spoon the cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until puffed in the center and browning.
  5. Let the cheese cool slightly, then invert it out onto a plate.
  6. For the tomatoes: While the cheese is baking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then drop in the tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the skins on the tomatoes start to split. Pull the pan off the flame, add the vermouth and return to the heat. Add the brown sugar and herbs and stir until the sugar is melted. Add a generous pinch of salt. Lower the heat and cook gently until the liquid is reduced to a syrupy coating for the tomatoes. The tomatoes will collapse and some may disintegrate. That’s fine.
  7. When ready to serve, spoon the candied tomatoes over the warm baked cheese and serve with sliced baguette or crostini.
  8. The baked cheese can be prepared a few hours in advance and then baked before serving. It is best served warm, but not necessarily right out of the oven. The tomatoes can be prepared ahead too and gently reheated before serving.
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Comments (65) Questions (6)

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3 months ago Ethnea

Could anyone be more specific on what a "2 cup baking dish" is?

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3 months ago Sharon

Any small Pyrex baking dish or medium ceramic ramekin will do. The 2 cup size is sufficient to accomodate the cheese mixture.

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3 months ago Sharon

Saved! Thanks so much for this recipe. It will definitely make an appearance during cocktail hour on the deck this weekend. Any suggestions for wines that pair well with this? Besides champagne, that is. Anyone?

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4 months ago vincey

I've made this a couple of times for dinner parties. Everyone loved it. I've only used dry vermouth.

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10 months ago ginabchaos

I opted for the dry because of the brown sugar- didn't want it too sweet- tomatoes are sweet enough for me w/ the small amount of brown sugar and overall still savory and cheesy

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10 months ago mimi3

Still the vermouth is in question... one comment below said dry and one said sweet. Is there a definitive answer? Or maybe it doesn't matter and is good with either?

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over 1 year ago ginabchaos

OMG this is sooooooo good. I made it w/ dry vermouth and everyone LOVED it Make this!!

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almost 2 years ago Babs

I question dry or sweet vermouth as well. Can't see an answer

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almost 2 years ago Janine Milner

yes also cant see an answer and i posted 4 months ago

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almost 2 years ago Allison Aylward

I looked through the questions and answers (as that was my first question as well - sweet or dry?) and the recommended vermouth is a sweet vermouth! It seems the darker and sweeter it is, the better.

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over 2 years ago Janine Milner

Sounds wonderful is the Vermouth dry or sweet!!! Cant wait to make it.

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almost 3 years ago lisaconnell

these tomatoes are unbelieveable!

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almost 3 years ago Ms. T

This one has been on my must-make list for ages, and I finally gave it a whirl--I'm so glad I did! Delicious, creative and deceivingly unfussy. I love that it can be prepped a few hours ahead of time and then thrown in the oven right before the guests arrive. I didn't have marjoram, so I used a combo of thyme and oregano. Rave reviews from everyone. I can tell this is going to become an entertaining standby in our house. Thanks for sharing!

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almost 3 years ago fpoint

Given last Sunday's 60 minute report on sugar, I would gently suggest that you substitute agave syrup for the brown sugar. Lower glycemic index and you are only looking for sweetness and some carmelization.

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almost 3 years ago eisenstar

I had a similar appetizer dish, just a few nights ago, at a restaurant here in Los Angeles. "Blistered tomatoes w/ melted burrata". Also served w/ crostini. I gotta say, it was one of the best dishes I've had, recently.

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almost 3 years ago fayehess

I was thinking this would make a great grilled sandwich, using the cheese and caramelized tomatoes to fill the bread, then grilling or frying on either side

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over 3 years ago Divya Kaur

I am so excited to try this recipe!!! Its so simple yet creative. thanks for sharing :)

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over 3 years ago Divya Kaur

I am so excited to try this recipe!!! Its so simple yet creative. thanks for sharing :)

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over 3 years ago Windtryst

Made this today with Jennifer's recipe for fresh ricotta, the tomatoes were a 10! I think I would have preferred the ricotta just fresh, not cooked....fun to try your recipe though. Good job. Thanks

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almost 4 years ago JenGonroff

Made this over the weekend, and it was a huge hit. Substituted in Thyme, and used Jennifer Perillo's Tomato Jam instead of the candied tomatoes. Was asked for the recipe by everyone. Lovely dish

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almost 4 years ago Robin O'D

I made this last night and it was really good. I think it would probably be better if I had better quality ricotta and goat cheese. Do you have any recommendations for these ingredients?

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almost 4 years ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Jennifer Perillo's recipe for homemade ricotta (here on food52) is phenomenal and would be great for the ricotta aspect of this!! It's not hard to make and is some of the best I've ever had!

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almost 4 years ago ENunn

Looks excellent! Congrats!

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almost 4 years ago lorigoldsby

Congrats on your win! Just saw your published recipe in the "Foodista" book.