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Cooking

Recipes for desserts made with whole grains

Farro, fruit, and gingered ricotta parfaits, toasted oatmeal souffle, and more.

Farro, fruit, and gingered ricotta parfaits.

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

Farro, fruit, and gingered ricotta parfaits.

You may have tried baked goods made healthful with whole-grain flours or rice pudding made with brown rice instead of white, but whole, wholesome grains like farro and oatmeal can also lend themselves well to sweet treatments. Farro, a member of the wheat family, is subtly sweet and tastes of warm spices; it’s great paired with ricotta cheese. And oatmeal, familiar in sweetened breakfast porridge and cookies, gives a souffle a distinct toasty flavor and just a hint of texture.

FARRO, FRUIT, AND GINGERED RICOTTA PARFAITS

Serves 4

I got the idea for whole-grain parfaits from Whole Grains Every Day Every Way, by Lorna Sass.

½ cup farro

Salt

1½ cups ricotta (not nonfat)

3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt (not nonfat)

3 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons finely grated zest and 1 tablespoon juice from 1 orange

cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

1 cup finely chopped peeled ripe mango

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

¾ cup finely chopped banana

Continue reading below

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, toast the farro, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Standing back because the mixture will sputter, add 1½ cups boiling water and a pinch of salt, then return the mixture to a boil. Cover, adjust heat to low, and simmer until the farro is very tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes. Off heat, rest for 10 minutes. Set a strainer in a sink and drain any remaining water; set farro aside to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the ricotta, yogurt, honey, orange zest, and a pinch of salt until lightened, about 1 minute. Add the chopped ginger, whisk, and set aside.

In another medium bowl, stir the mango and lime juice, then set aside in another bowl 3 tablespoons of the mango mixture. Add the banana and orange juice to the larger bowl of mango and stir gently to combine.

Continue reading it below

To assemble, spoon about cup of the ricotta mixture into each of 4 serving glasses. Spoon a quarter of the mango-banana mixture over the ricotta in each glass, then a quarter of the farro over the fruit. Dollop a quarter of the remaining ricotta mixture onto the farro in each glass, sprinkle with the reserved mango mixture, and serve at once.

ITALIAN CREAMY SWEET FARRO, MOUNTAIN-STYLE

Serves 4

The idea comes from The Italian Country Table, by Lynne Rosetto Kasper.

cup farro

Salt

1 cup ricotta (not nonfat)

3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt (not nonfat)

3 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for garnish

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, toast the farro, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Standing back because the mixture will sputter, add 2 cups boiling water and a pinch of salt, then return to a boil. Cover, adjust heat to low, and simmer until the farro is very tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes. Off heat, rest for 10 minutes. Set a strainer in a sink and drain any remaining water; set farro aside to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk the ricotta, yogurt, honey, cinnamon, and a tiny pinch of salt until lightened, about 1 minute. Stir in the cooled farro and serve, sprinkling each serving with a little cinnamon.

TIP Whole “rolled” or “old-fashioned” oats (pictured at left) are thick and chewy. Quick oats are pressed thinner to cook faster, and instant oats (at right) even thinner; they are not suitable for the souffle.

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

TIP Whole “rolled” or “old-fashioned” oats (pictured at left) are thick and chewy. Quick oats are pressed thinner to cook faster, and instant oats (at right) even thinner; they are not suitable for the souffle.

TOASTED OATMEAL SOUFFLE

Makes 1 souffle

Do not use quick-cooking or instant oats.

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup rolled oats, preferably extra-thick

Salt

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

5 tablespoons

light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large eggs, separated, plus 2 large egg whites, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

In a small bowl, stir 1½ tablespoons of the granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon to mix. Grease a 2-quart souffle dish with 2 teaspoons of the butter, dust evenly with the cinnamon sugar, and refrigerate until needed. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining butter. When the foaming subsides, add the oats and cook, stirring, until golden brown and fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Standing back because the mixture will sputter, add 1½ cups water and ¼ teaspoon salt, adjust heat to high, and bring to a boil. Adjust heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring, until the oats are soft and the liquid has been mostly absorbed, about 6 minutes. Off heat, add the cream cheese, 3½ tablespoons of the brown sugar, the remaining cinnamon, and vanilla, stir to incorporate, and set aside to cool until lukewarm, about 8 minutes. Add the 4 egg yolks and whisk vigorously.

With a hand-held or standing electric mixer on high, beat the 6 egg whites until frothy, gradually adding the cream of tartar, about 1 minute. Continue beating, gradually adding the remaining granulated sugar, until whites are thick, glossy, and hold stiff peaks, about 1 minute longer. Add a quarter of the beaten whites to the oatmeal mixture and stir until just combined. Add the remaining beaten whites and rapidly but gently fold into the oatmeal mixture to blend.

Spoon the batter into the prepared souffle dish, smooth, and sprinkle evenly with the remaining brown sugar. Bake for 10 minutes, adjust heat to 375 degrees, and continue baking until souffle is puffed, well browned, set around the edges, and still a little jiggly in the center, 15 to 20 minutes longer (depending on how well done you like your souffle). Serve at once.

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