Baked Ricotta and Goat Cheese with Candied Tomatoes

By • August 12, 2011 • 60 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&MA&M

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.
Jump to Comments (60)

Comments (60) Questions (6)

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3 days 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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8 months ago ginabchaos

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

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about 1 year ago Babs

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

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about 1 year ago Janine Milner

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

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about 1 year 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 1 year ago Janine Milner

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

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about 2 years ago lisaconnell

these tomatoes are unbelieveable!

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about 2 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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about 2 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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about 2 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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about 2 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

Stringio

over 2 years ago Divya Kaur

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

Stringio

over 2 years ago Divya Kaur

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

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almost 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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about 3 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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about 3 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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about 3 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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about 3 years ago ENunn

Looks excellent! Congrats!

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about 3 years ago lorigoldsby

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

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about 3 years ago java&foam

personally, i believe the tomatoes are the star of this dish. they are out of this world. anyone who doesn't like tomatoes will be stunned with how incredible these taste...congrats on such an epic contribution to cocktail hour.

on a side note...the only change i made was to add in some candied pecans to the syrup right at the end before i poured it over the cheese. it worked out very well.

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about 3 years ago java&foam

personally, i believe the tomatoes are the star of this dish. they are out of this world. anyone who doesn't like tomatoes will be stunned with how incredible these taste...congrats on such an epic contribution to cocktail hour.

on a side note...the only change i made was to add in some candied pecans to the syrup right at the end before i poured it over the cheese. it worked out very well.

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about 3 years ago GiGi26

I made this today to the delight of my family. Thank you for a wonderful appitizer!

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about 3 years ago Susige

I made this tonight using Jennifer Perillo's homemade Ricotta Cheese recipe. I added the still warm and soft Ricotta and mixed it in with the goat cheese and egg mixture, poured in into a small porcelain casserole and popped it into the oven as directed. Out came a lovely, tasty, savory and spreadable cheesy mixture that was a marriage in heaven with the candied tomatoes. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

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about 3 years ago Bevi

Congrats! Now I have to go-to appetizers from TheRunawaySpoon (although this looks like a mighty fine meatless Monday dish). I have a similar filling I use to stuff peppers with - a recipe taught me by my mother-in-law many moons ago. Next time I will know to drain the ricotta to get a denser filling.

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about 3 years ago shayma

i am always adding appetiser recipes to my file- and this one is definitely going into it- i love dishes like these- which can be eaten whilst chatting, with a glass of wine in your hand- casual, fun. it looks absolutely amazing. congrats. x shayma

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about 3 years ago carol.penn.romine

Holy moly! We just had this for dinner. It's amazing and amazingly good. Brava!

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about 3 years ago Susige

Congrats! I adore roasted tomatoes so these candied tomatoes are next on the roster!

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about 3 years ago Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

Congratulations, I'll be making this soon for a pot luck party.

Ging

about 3 years ago clcatto

Congratulations! Yum!

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about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Congratulations! This is a gorgeous recipe!

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about 3 years ago Ms. T

Congratulations--this looks heavenly!

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations RS, beautiful recipe and a wonderful addition to the cookbook.

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about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

YAY, YAY, YAY for you - much deserved congratulations!

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about 3 years ago TheRunawaySpoon

Thanks! So honored! I love Food52!

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about 3 years ago sygyzy

Made this recipe last night and it was really good. I didn't have any marjoram (is it me or is that the hot herb right now?) so I substituted some dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary. The cheese was good, no doubt, but what stole the show were the candied tomatoes. I could see a bunch of uses for that.

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about 3 years ago Allieyum

Loved the tomatoes--I added a bit of onion.

The cheese was a bit too solid and not gooey like I imagined it would be.

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about 3 years ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

oh my goodness RunawaySpoon, this is TO DIE FOR. We subbed fresh oregano but otherwise made the recipe as you wrote. It is wonderful. I just posted it and a shout out to you on my blog (http://em-i-lis.com)- hope you don't mind. It's all fully complimentary. :)

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about 3 years ago Kerryloves2travel

I am going to make this for a bridal shower this weekend.
Perfect way to use my Heirloom cherries from garden!

Stringio

about 3 years ago lakelurelady

What a great recipe. Your food pairing ideas are perfect. Congratulations.

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about 3 years ago EmilyC

What a beautiful dish! Many congrats on being a finalist!

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about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Congratulations! I thought this beauty looked like a winner!

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about 3 years ago Waverly

Congratulations - your recipe looks absolutely fabulous. SAVED.

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Yay! Congrats, RS! I could make a meal out of this.

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about 3 years ago BlueKaleRoad

Congratulations! This sounds like heaven on a plate.

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about 3 years ago healthierkitchen

Delicious! Congrats!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Congrats, RS! I had a feeling this would be a finalist. The candied tomatoes are pure genius.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

With this and your blue cheese savouries you take the crown as queen of appetizers!

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about 3 years ago Sommelier

"Vermouth"????????? Dry or sweet?

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about 3 years ago Regbac

Sweet

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about 3 years ago Sagegreen

Congrats on being a finalist. Lovely recipe.

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about 3 years ago piccantedolce

Congrats on being a finalist, though just on the sound of this one alone it's easy to see why! I may have to run and make this immediately it sounds so good!

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about 3 years ago piccantedolce

Oh my does this sound like heaven! I'm absolutely making it with some of my bevy of cherry tomatoes!

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Great recipe, congratulations on being a finalist.I love baked cheese and those tomatoes are fantastic.

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about 3 years ago Bevi

Oh this is just perfection! Congrats!

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about 3 years ago Carole Magness

this sounds like a winner to me!

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about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh yum! I love baked ricotta, and those tomatoes look like such a wonderful complement!

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about 3 years ago TheRunawaySpoon

This is my own creation. I have certainly had, and made, baked ricotta dishes, but generally found them a little bland. So I once decided to try a similar idea using an abundance of tangy, salty local goat cheese. I had at first served this with a fresh tomato salsa, but decided a sweet, warm treatment was a better complement. The candied tomatoes are inspired by an old Southern casserole dish of tomatoes with brown sugar, with the added vermouth to get things moving and add some depth. Cherry tomatoes hold up beautifully in this process. Marjoram is my favorite herb, and beautifully complements these ingredients. I’ve been making this for years, and published it on my website in June.

I would never submit a recipe that is not my own without proper attribution.

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about 3 years ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

Did you adapt this from an exsisting recipe or your own creation?

Runningspoon_perre-magness

about 3 years ago TheRunawaySpoon

This is my own creation. I have certainly had, and made, baked ricotta dishes, but generally found them a little bland. So I once decided to try a similar idea using an abundance of tangy, salty local goat cheese. I had at first served this with a fresh tomato salsa, but decided a sweet, warm treatment was a better complement. The candied tomatoes are inspired by an old Southern casserole dish of tomatoes with brown sugar, with the added vermouth to get things moving and add some depth. Cherry tomatoes hold up beautifully in this process. Marjoram is my favorite herb, and beautifully complements these ingredients. I’ve been making this for years, and published it on my website in June.

I would never submit a recipe that is not my own without proper attribution.

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about 3 years ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

It's absolutely beautiful and up on my list to make ASAP. Well done!