Christmas and New Year's is coming up and if you're entertaining then give this baked ricotta a try! You can make it regular or as a Christmas wreath. The flavour of this baked ricotta is so delicious thanks to a clever mix of cheeses. Just slice off some creamy ricotta and spread on crackers for an utterly moreish festive appetiser!
Baked ricotta is one of the easiest things you can make for entertaining. This version is an even tastier mix with both ricotta and feta used in the base and it is wrapped around vine leaves for extra flavour. I made a Christmas version for an upcoming picnic with the Elliotts on Christmas Day and it keeps for up to a week in the fridge as it's also delicious served cold. All I have to do on the day is place some crackers around it and go. If you're trying to spread out your Christmas cooking then this baked ricotta is super handy, not to mention delicious.
I first ate this vine wrapped baked ricotta at Valentina's house. We had a pre-Christmas dinner a couple of weeks before actual Christmas. There's always wonderful food at Valentina's and this vine wrapped baked ricotta was one of the pre-dinner snacks. Before eating we always mill about the kitchen with a glass of champagne while inhaling all the delicious aromas. It was just us and her family and she made a turkey with all the trimmings. We brought dessert wine and a panforte for dessert. Afterwards we ate we opened up presents and it was such a lovely time especially as it was a bit chillier that night so it felt a bit more Christmassy.
I've made baked ricotta so many times but having it wrapped in vine leaves was new to me. It was so delicious I wanted to make it myself because I think I ate about a quarter of the whole thing only restraining myself because it would have been rude otherwise. It had such a gorgeous festive look to it as she added cranberries and herbs on top.
It was so tasty that I decided that I just had to make it part of the Christmas spread this year. I wasn't sure where to get vine leaves from but the ever resourceful Valentina grows them at her house and she was off in a flash with scissors in hand snipping off the freshest vine leaves for me. She placed them in a bag for me with instructions on what to do with them. I blanched them in salted water when I got home and kept them frozen until I needed them. Just in case you don't have a friend that grows vine leaves any Greek deli will stock them and you will just have to rinse them of the salt in lots of water before using them. I'm so lucky to have friends like Valentina as she also helped out when I was panicking and trying to plan Christmas dinner and was looking for a particular type of red and green peppers for Christmas. All of the shops in the East were out of them but they were in stock near where she lives so she went off to the shops to buy some for me and she wouldn't take a cent for them no matter how much I protested. I feel truly blessed to have such helpful and kind people in my life.
Tonight is when we start our Christmas celebrations with a Christmas Eve family dinner with my family and Mr NQN's. This year it will be a bit different as it will involve Rapid Antigen Tests and an outdoor meal on the deck but you do what you need to to keep everyone safe. I just want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. 2021 like 2020 has been turbulent but I hope that you've had some happiness and hope. Have a wonderful Christmas meal with those that you love best eating delicious food! And please tell me what you're eating, you know I want to know!
Lots of love,
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Baked Ricotta Wrapped in Vine Leaves
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 4 readers
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- 1/2 onion, peeled
- 1.5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup/200g/7ozs. ricotta
- 140g/5ozs. feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 8-12 vine leaves, blanched (cut off the little leaf stalk)
Laying down a ramekin inside a springform tin and lining it with vine leaves
Pouring ricotta and feta mixture into the tin
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Place the onion, garlic and egg in a food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add the ricotta, feta and chilli. Take a 17cm/6.6inch springform dish and spray the base and sides with oil spray. Place a 6cm/2.3inch ramekin in the centre and place overlapping vine leaves in to make a wreath overlapping them to cover.
Step 2 - Spoon the ricotta filling in the tin around the ramekin. Bake for 30 minutes. This is delicious served warm or cold. I decorated it with mint leaves and red currants and served it with crackers.