BLACKBERRY THYME BAKED CHEESE

I’ve agreed to stay in this Valentine’s Day. Typically Pat and I head out and splurge on an expensive steak dinner, but this year we are making dinner at home! I’ve been testing and trying new recipes for months looking absolutely perfect romantic appetizers, dinners, and of course drinks to make for the big day. The only requirement for the appetizer part??? CHEESE. If I’m staying in, then there has to be ooey, gooey, delicious cheese. This appetizer is perfect. Romantic, delicious, bursting with flavor, AND starring my main squeeze…cheese. I can’t wait for you to try this!

Well, none of this week’s “How Big Is The Kid?!” baking experiment is unfortunate. It’s cheese wrapped in carbs. And then baked until molten and golden brown. Praise the sugar gods for keeping my numbers in cheese, because I admit that I ate about half of this wheel of cheese while shooting it. Huck, the dog, also got his fair share when I wasn’t looking…

Like mother like son. And the human son was also quite pleased with how this turned out, if his kicks to my lungs were any indication.

This is such a fun and share-able appetizer. It’s super simple, and barely takes any prep time. Perfect for Valentine’s Day. I need to leave lots of time for opening all the romantic presents Pat will be giving me! (kidding…but this recipe really is SUPER simple)

I’m posting a cocktail recipe on Tuesday using the same fruit and syrup prep used in this app. I plan to make a double batch of the berries and use half for this baked cheese, and half for Blackberry Ombre Sparklers! It’s going to be a great Valentine’s Day! (Click HERE for a sneak peak of the Ombre Sparkler!!!)

I used a creamy Camembert for this baked cheese, but I plan on using a brie for Valentine’s Day. I LOVE Camembert, but Pat thinks its a bit strong. Both are delicious, just different. Brie would be sweeter and milder. Let me know which cheese you like best!

Ingredients:
Baked Ricotta:

  • 2 cups of full fat ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup tablespoons Parmesan (divided in 2 parts)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • A few cracks pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Blackberry-Thyme Smash:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries, divided
  • 3 sprigs thyme, plus more for garnish
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • For serving: crackers, crostinis, and/or crudités of choice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 50-ounce capacity (about 3 cups) ramekin, baking dish, or cheese baker with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta, egg, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, lemon zest, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
  3. Using a spatula, transfer the cheese mixture to the baking dish. Sprinkle top with remaining 2 tablespoons parmesan. (Note: Do not over fill your baking dish. Make the cheese level or below the top rim of the baking dish (if needed, divide the cheese between two baking dishes. This will prevent overflow and a mess in your oven!).
  4. Place in oven, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Parmesan on top should begin to turn golden.
  5. While the cheese is cooking, make the Blackberry-Thyme Smash: place 1 cup black berries, leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme, juice of 1/2 lemon, pinch of salt, and honey in a bowl and mash with a fork until a saucy, jammy mixture is created. Add in remaining 1/2 cup whole berries (for texture).
  6. Spoon Blackberry Smash mixture over baked cheese, and top with a sprig of thyme as garnish. Serve while cheese is still warm with crackers, crostinis, or crudités.

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