Ever since I read Kim Boyce’s beautiful Good to the Grain, I have been taking whole grains a lot more seriously. I now find myself using them whenever I can, especially in baking. Because they are good for me, sure—but mostly because they taste good. So, I was pleasantly surprised when Maria Speck’s new cookbook Ancient Grains for Modern Meals arrived at my doorstep.
The book is beautifully written, and a real pleasure to spend time with. Speck manages to soft-sell cooking with grains in a way that has me wanting to completely transform my diet. She should consider starting a cult, maybe she already has—the Cult of Whole Grains. Sign me up.
Like Boyce, Speck knows that the health benefits of whole grains will never overrule our desire for delicious food and sets out to provide a collection of recipes that are delicious and also happen to contain whole grains. It is a brilliant plan and if this recipe for Millet Ricotta Pudding is any indication, she is successful.
This deliciously creamy dessert references familiar dishes like rice pudding and coeur a la creme but manages to also maintain a unique identity. It is fresh, creamy, lemony, and perfect for spring. The warm raspberry sauce poured over the cold pudding is absolutely delightful.
In totally unrelated news, Bryan designed a pretty, new website for Floriole Cafe & Bakery (complete with some photos by yours truly). And keep your eye both here and there because the second Lottie + Doof dinner at Floriole will be announced shortly. The dinner will take place at the end of May and will highlight all of our favorite spring fruits and vegetables. I am super excited to be planning another menu and working with my friends at Floriole.
Ricotta Millet Pudding with Warm Raspberry Compote (recipe from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup millet
- 2/3 cup milk (lowfat is fine)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (no need to thaw)
- 1/4 cup honey
To prepare the millet, bring the water and millet to a boil in a small saucepan. Decrease the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Combine the milk, vanilla, and salt in a small bowl and add to the millet. Return to a simmer, cover, and cook until the milk is absorbed, about 15 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover and cool to room temperature.
Once the millet has cooled, make the pudding. Place the ricotta, honey, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are well incorporated. Loosen the prepared millet with a fork and stir it into the ricotta mixture, breaking up any lumps.
In another large bowl, whip the cream with a handheld mixer, gradually adding the sugar until medium-firm peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the ricotta-millet mixture in 3 additions. Divide the pudding among 6-8 serving dishes. Chill, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, make the raspberry compote. Place the raspberries and honey in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, gently stirring once in a while so as not to crush the berries, until the sauce is hot and berries just warmed through, 5-8 minutes.
To finish, spoon some of the raspberry compote over the chilled ricotta pudding and serve at once.
April 21st, 2011 at 8:49 am
This looks beautiful, Tim. I love the name of the book—and have never heard of it! Off to google Ancient Grains…
Lisa (dinner party) says:
April 21st, 2011 at 8:50 am
This is so interesting! It would never occur to me to substitute a different grain in rice pudding.
Caroline Shields says:
April 21st, 2011 at 9:20 am
I had no idea that Bryan designed Floriole’s new site. Love!
Um, power couple.
April 21st, 2011 at 9:39 am
I love millet so much more than quinoa, so I’m all over this! It looks beautiful and rich and I’d love this for breakfast.
kari (tanglewood baked goods) says:
April 21st, 2011 at 9:51 am
Yuuuum. I have been so into tapioca lately (with coconut milk!) and am seeking my rice-pudding nirvana too. Maybe this is it! Thanks for sharing Tim.
April 21st, 2011 at 9:59 am
Oh that looks perfect with the raspberry compote. It brings back memories of rice pudding with raspberry jam – but this is a very refined grown-up version! I must try it!
Megan Gordon says:
April 21st, 2011 at 10:15 am
Sign me up for the cult anyday…one of my favorite baking books of all time. And a good reminder, actually, because I haven’t cracked it open in awhile. (and congrats to Bryan–lovely website)
April 21st, 2011 at 10:48 am
This is just in time for Easter…perfect!
April 21st, 2011 at 11:23 am
I just bought my first millet bag after a recipe of Heidi Swanson’s, and now you post this! perfect timing. I love that people seem to be more and more converting to whole grains and sweeteners. It takes baking off from ‘special occasions’ and more to daily life for me. Great book suggestion, thanks!
Rachel (Olalliberry) says:
April 21st, 2011 at 11:38 am
This looks comforting and delicious. I love rice pudding, and I’ve been enjoying millet quite a bit lately, so this looks like a winning combo!
April 21st, 2011 at 11:49 am
love to learn…thanks for the intro to maria speck.
bryan rocks…floriole”s site is a vision of beauty … love the design & layout ( & of course your photos, tim! ).
April 21st, 2011 at 11:51 am
I’m a huge millet fan. I stir it into homemade wheat bread and the crunchiness is addicting. I’ve tried savory recipes for it , such as millet fried rice (101cookbooks) and lately I’ve been making polenta using millet. But I haven’t tackled desserts yet, so thanks for this!
April 21st, 2011 at 1:38 pm
This looks delicious! I made Heidi’s Millet Muffins a few weeks ago, and loved the taste and texture of the millet- I even have that half-empty bag still sitting in my pantry. The book sounds super interesting :)
April 21st, 2011 at 4:27 pm
I love rice pudding, but this sounds and looks even better. I have been curious about millet for awhile. Looks like it is time to try it out. Wow…Floriole’swebsite is beautiful. Great pics. So classy looking, just like Floriole! Can’t wait to find out about the spring dinner. I must get tickets this time.
Sandra Holl says:
April 21st, 2011 at 5:52 pm
Tim this looks amazing and I’m wondering if we can work it into the next menu somehow.
Thanks to both you and Bryan for making the Floriole website so awesome!
April 22nd, 2011 at 7:39 am
I totally agree, after peeking through Kim’s book I got in the habit of taking whole grains seriously. My baking has transformed and I am proud of the direction it is going, grains are wonderful and add so much flavor and texture.
April 22nd, 2011 at 8:45 am
Oh my, that is not only beautiful, but you’re telling me its good for me too?! This cannot be true! I cannot wait to make my own and dig into that lush creamy heaven.
PS I definitely will have to stop by Floriole soon. I am a Chicago native and have been following your blog for some time. The website looks fabulous!
April 22nd, 2011 at 8:57 am
Well, Stephanie, “good for you” might be a stretch– but it is definitely better for you.
Dawn (KitchenTravels) says:
April 22nd, 2011 at 11:40 am
Is it weird that I’m so enchanted with the millet photo? It’s so pretty with those little yellow orbs. Excited to try this with a sheep’s milk ricotta that’s sometimes available at one of our local farmer’s markets. Tell Bryan the Floriole website looks great! And I love that L+D inspired Floriole’s mac & cheese dish.
April 23rd, 2011 at 2:35 pm
It’s always fun to make thebfamiliar with an ingredient that gets people talking. I’m looking forward to making this.
April 28th, 2011 at 10:09 am
Love that there is ricotta in this pudding. I must get my hands on that book – sounds amazing!!
Neil Butterfield says:
May 4th, 2011 at 10:42 pm
This does look and sound awesome! I think cherry sauce would work equally well.
May 6th, 2011 at 11:02 pm
This looks so good, and right up my alley as I am deep in a ricotta phase (and am always in a pudding phase!) Perhaps a version with rhubarb compote? Gorgeous site, thanks! I’m looking forward to checking out the book, too.
May 11th, 2011 at 1:19 pm
I just tried this, and it was delicious! I think I would reduce the heavy cream to 1/3 cup next time, I thought it kind of overwhelmed everything else…but that’s just me! And I will definitely be making it again :)