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Baked ricotta cream with mandarin caramel

This gorgeous dessert is a surefire way to add colour to a winter table. The bonus is it will boost your vitamin C levels, too.

By Emma Knowles
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 35 mins cooking plus cooling
  • Serves 4 - 6
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Think of this super-simple dessert as a crustless baked cheesecake. Creamy ricotta and mascarpone form the base, and tangy mandarins and a dark mandarin caramel make the ideal complement. We've added chopped pistachio nuts for crunch; crumbled ginger biscuits would also work well.


  • 750 gm firm ricotta
  • 150 gm mascarpone
  • 140 gm caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • Finely grated rind of 1 mandarin
  • 2 mandarins, peeled and thickly sliced crossways
  • 1 ruby grapefruit, segmented
  • Coarsely chopped pistachio nuts, to serve
Mandarin caramel
  • 220 gm 1 cup) caster sugar
  • 100 ml mandarin juice
  • 20 gm butter


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 160C, and lightly butter a 1.5-litre shallow baking dish. Process ricotta, mascarpone, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon and mandarin rinds and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. Spoon into baking dish, smooth top and bake until puffed and golden on the edges and set in the centre (30-35 minutes). Stand at room temperature for 15 minutes (ricotta cream will deflate a little; this is okay).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, for mandarin caramel, stir sugar, half the mandarin juice and 50ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook without stirring until dark caramel (5-6 minutes). Remove from heat, add butter, remaining mandarin juice and another 50ml water (be careful, hot caramel will spit), then return to heat and swirl to combine. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • 3
    Arrange mandarin slices and ruby grapefruit segments over ricotta cream, drizzle with caramel, scatter with pistachio nuts and serve warm.