Port-Poached Rhubarb with Ricotta and Walnut Crumble
Frankies Spuntino 570 - NYC
Inspired by memories of a family dessert, this simple dish shows up at Frankies Spuntino 570 every spring. If you don’t want to make the ricotta from scratch, just substitute a high-quality, store-bought ricotta.
Ricotta (optional; use 2 cups high-quality ricotta if you’re not making it from scratch):
2 quarts whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 cups sugar
1 and 1/2 cups ground walnuts
1 and 1/2 cups flour
2 cups butter
1 tablespoon salt
4 stalks rhubarb
1 cup port
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
5 whole black peppercorns
Make the ricotta: heat the milk, heavy cream, lemon juice, and salt in a pot over low heat, being careful not to let the bottom of the pot scorch. Cook until the curds start to set and the milk reaches 180ºF on a thermometer, about 15 minutes. Transfer the contents of the pot to a fine-mesh sieve that’s lined with cheesecloth and set over a mixing bowl. Let drain in the refrigerator overnight.
Make the walnut crumble: preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the sugar, walnuts, flour, butter, and salt in a large bowl. Mix together with your hands, using your fingers to pinch the butter and break it into small pieces. Evenly spread the mixture on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Make the rhubarb: cut the rhubarb into 1-inch pieces. Measure out 3 cups of rhubarb for the recipe and save any extra for another use. Place the port, sugar, water, vanilla bean pods, vanilla bean seeds, and peppercorns in a medium pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just begins to boil. Add the rhubarb and cook until just slightly tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the rhubarb cool in the poaching liquid.
To serve, spoon some ricotta into a bowl. Top with poached rhubarb and some leftover cooking liquid. Break the walnut crumble into pieces and sprinkle on top.