Around this time last year, I went to Spain for a vacation. It was fantastic and delicious, and I vividly remember the wonderful meals we enjoyed. I was looking through the pictures and I came upon the plate of pintxos I had in Sevilla.
Pintxos are small bites or bar snacks, often savory but sometimes sweet, skewered to a piece of toast. I remember one topped with ricotta, raisins, and chopped dates, and a light drizzle of chocolate. I decided to recreate it with fresh strawberries and dark chocolate ganache.
(I am still slightly obsessed with dark chocolate ganache.)
This is very easy to prepare, and could well serve as appetizers for your next get-together with your friends, or even dessert, as the flavors are slightly reminiscent of chocolate-strawberry cheesecake.
All you have to do is make some crostini by toasting baguette slices with olive oil. While that’s in the oven, make a quick ganache in the microwave. Then top the toasted bread with ricotta, strawberries, and a drizzle of dark chocolate ganache.
If you find out at the last minute that your drizzling skills are atrocious, and that some drizzle look more like globs, fear not. No one ever complained about too much dark chocolate drizzle.
This goes perfectly with a glass of chilled rose (I love the Apothic Rose that was recently sent to me), and has the perfect amount of sweetness. There’s a lot of texture in each bite: crunchy toast, creamy ricotta, juice strawberries, velvety chocolate.
Strawberry Ricotta Crostini
1/3 baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/3 cup ricotta
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoon heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
- Brush olive oil on both sides of the bread pieces, then toast for 5 minutes.
- While the bread is in the oven, place the chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Add the cream and microwave for 45 seconds. Stir vigorously until smooth and glossy.
- When baguette slices are done, top with ricotta, strawberries, and drizzle with ganache. Serve immediately.
If you don’t want any chocolate (what’s wrong with you?) you can just drizzle honey on top. Some chopped mint would be nice, too. Or toasted hazelnuts. Or you can do the savory route and drizzle a balsamic vinegar reduction, with freshly ground black pepper. You can also swap out ricotta with goat cheese or cream cheese.
Now what to do with the leftover baguette and ricotta? Maybe the next day, you make toast again, smear another thick layer of ricotta on top, drizzle with olive oil (always be liberal with olive oil), top with salt, pepper, chili pepper flakes, and rejoice in the simplicity of the ingredients. If you have juicy tomatoes, chop those up with the aforementioned toppings plus basil, and have a traditional bruschetta topping. Or you can make this:
Fair warning: if you click over to that post, you might have a Beyonce song stuck in your head.
I was always unsure of the difference between crostini and bruschetta, because both are Italian appetizers on toasted bread. It looks like crostini means little toasts, or thin slices of bread brushed with olive oil, while bruschetta comes from the Italian word “bruscare” (to roast over coals) and is basically garlic bread, or toasted bread rubbed with garlic. So with that, these strawberry-ricotta bites are definitely closer to crostini.
Even though it wasn’t the little Italian toasts that inspired me to make these, but rather the little Spanish pintxos.
Either way, these little crostini are easy to make and sure to please. These might remind you of a favorite vacation, these might be another way to relish the fresh summer berries before they go out of season, or these might just be a simple treat. If you’re making them, be sure to be generous with the drizzle!