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Pickled Pear Ricotta Crostini Recipe

pear ricotta crostini on plate
pear ricotta crostini on plate - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Crostini are not exactly revolutionary to the appetizer game, but these pickled pear crostini certainly bring a fresh wave of tart, sweet, and tangy flavors to the genre. Brought to us by recipe developer Feta Topalu, this dish combines the mild, creamy flavor of ricotta with gently acidic pickled pears, chopped walnuts, and fresh thyme for the ultimate bite.

Anyone who has enjoyed ricotta cheese knows that it's not ultra-smooth by nature and actually has a somewhat grainy consistency. This recipe will teach you how to take care of that: "One of my favorite things about these crostini is the silky smooth ricotta that is whipped in the food processor," Topalu tells us, adding, "The addition of honey takes it to the next level and pairs exceptionally well with the sweet pickled pears." Elegant and delightfully snackable, these crostini are equally as ideal for casual gatherings as they are more refined ones — think dinner parties, cocktail hours, or holiday gatherings.

Read more: 7 Nuts You Should Be Eating And 7 You Shouldn't

Gather The Ingredients For Pickled Pear Ricotta Crostini

pickled pear crostini ingredients
pickled pear crostini ingredients - Feta Topalu/Mashed

You'll naturally need pears for this recipe, though you'll also need ingredients to pickle them: white vinegar, water, granulated sugar, salt, and whole peppercorns. Ricotta and honey serve as the first layer on the crostini, then you'll also need a baguette, olive oil, toasted walnuts, and fresh thyme to round out the appetizer.

Step 1: Make The Pickling Liquid

pickling liquid in saucepan
pickling liquid in saucepan - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Prepare the pickled pears: In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, 1 tablespoon salt, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar and salt dissolve completely.

Step 2: Add The Pears And Let The Mixture Cool

diced pears in saucepan
diced pears in saucepan - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Remove the saucepan from heat, stir in the diced pears, and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.

Step 3: Transfer The Pickled Pears To A Jar

pickled pears in glass jar
pickled pears in glass jar - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Once cooled, transfer pears and pickling liquid to a clean jar or container. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, or until chilled.

Step 4: Make The Honey-Whipped Ricotta

honey and ricotta in food processor
honey and ricotta in food processor - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Meanwhile, make the honey-whipped ricotta: Place ricotta, honey, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt into a food processor.

Step 5: Blend Until Smooth

smooth ricotta mixture in food processor
smooth ricotta mixture in food processor - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Process until ricotta is whipped and smooth.

Step 6: Transfer The Ricotta To A Bowl

whipped ricotta in bowl
whipped ricotta in bowl - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Transfer whipped ricotta to a bowl and set aside.

Step 7: Preheat The Oven

oven set to 375 F
oven set to 375 F - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Prepare the crostini: Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Step 8: Oil The Baguette Slices

baguette slices on baking sheet
baguette slices on baking sheet - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Place baguette slices onto a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil on both sides.

Step 9: Bake Until Golden

baked baguette slices on baking sheet
baked baguette slices on baking sheet - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Step 10: Spread The Ricotta On The Toasted Baguette

baguette slices with ricotta spread
baguette slices with ricotta spread - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Assemble the crostini: Spread a generous dollop of honey-whipped ricotta onto each toasted baguette slice.

Step 11: Add The Pickled Pears

crostini with diced pears
crostini with diced pears - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Top with a spoonful of pickled pears. (It's OK if some of the pickling liquid drips on, too.)

Step 12: Sprinkle On The Walnuts And Thyme

pear crostini on cutting board
pear crostini on cutting board - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Garnish crostini with chopped walnuts and thyme.

Step 13: Plate And Serve

pear crostini on serving platter
pear crostini on serving platter - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Arrange crostini on a platter and serve immediately.

How Do You Make Pickled Pears?

pickled pears in jar
pickled pears in jar - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Pickling isn't a particularly difficult or intricate process, but it's easy to make pickling mistakes if you aren't careful. An important step to keep in mind comes into play before you even begin pickling — it starts on the chopping block. "When pickling pears, to start, make sure to dice the pears evenly for a consistent finished look," Topalu advises. When it comes time to put those diced pears in the jar along with the pickling liquid, you want to make sure that each and every pear chunk is adequately covered "to ensure even pickling," as Topalu puts it. As for what kind of fruit to use, Topalu tells us that Bartlett pears are ideal for this recipe, as "they are known for their sweetness and juiciness, which complement the pickling process well." That said, if Anjou or Bosc pears are all you have on hand, you can use those instead.

There's also the question of how long to pickle the pears before you serve them. You can refrigerate/pickle the pears for as little as one hour, though if you have more time, it might be worthwhile to wait longer before cracking open the jar. "Allowing the pickled pears to sit longer can intensify the flavors as they meld together even further," Topalu says, noting that you can keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week. "This can help in 'make-ahead' preparation for an event or dinner party," Topalu adds.

What Can I Add To Pear And Ricotta Crostini?

pear crostini on plate
pear crostini on plate - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Versatile pickled pear and ricotta crostini are the ideal candidate for ingredient swaps or additions, starting with the pickling liquid. "Adding aromatic spices like cinnamon sticks or cloves can add a warm, spiced flavor profile to the pickled pears," Topalu says. She also notes that you could use a different kind of cheese if ricotta is too mild for your taste buds — think goat cheese or blue cheese, but note that you can skip the food processor step if you opt for such varieties.

You can also try out a different crostini vehicle; crusty bread works best, so something like sourdough or a whole-grain baguette would do the trick. Finally, you can get creative with the garnishes on your crostini. Pistachios offer a different nutty option, whereas there's no shortage of herb alternatives: "Thyme, basil, or lemon balm add a different delicious aroma to these crostini," says Topalu.

Pickled Pear Ricotta Crostini Recipe

hand holding pear crostini
hand holding pear crostini - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Prep Time: 1h 10mCook Time: 12mYield: 10 servingsIngredients

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar

  • 1 cup water

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon + ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  • 2 large ripe pears, diced

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1 baguette, sliced into ½ inch thick pieces

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted

  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, chopped

Directions

  1. Prepare the pickled pears: In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, 1 tablespoon salt, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar and salt dissolve completely.

  2. Remove the saucepan from heat, stir in the diced pears, and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.

  3. Once cooled, transfer pears and pickling liquid to a clean jar or container. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, or until chilled.

  4. Meanwhile, make the honey-whipped ricotta: Place ricotta, honey, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt into a food processor.

  5. Process until ricotta is whipped and smooth.

  6. Transfer whipped ricotta to a bowl and set aside.

  7. Prepare the crostini: Preheat the oven to 375 F.

  8. Place baguette slices onto a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil on both sides.

  9. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

  10. Assemble the crostini: Spread a generous dollop of honey-whipped ricotta onto each toasted baguette slice.

  11. Top with a spoonful of pickled pears. (It's OK if some of the pickling liquid drips on, too.)

  12. Garnish crostini with chopped walnuts and thyme.

  13. Arrange crostini on a platter and serve immediately.

Read the original article on Mashed.