Toasts with Ricotta and Warm Balsamic-Caramel Apples

  • Six 3/4-inch-thick slices of white bakery bread
  • 4 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 lbs Granny Smith apples (3 large)—peeled, cored and cut into thin wedges
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 T 25-Year Balsamic Vinegar Buy now
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 T water
  • 3/4 cup chilled ricotta cheese
  • 2 T chopped marcona almonds

Preheat the broiler. Brush bread with 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Broil bread 4 inches from heat for 1 minute, turning once, until browned. Transfer to plates.

In large skillet, melt remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Add apples and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until apples are tender and sauce is syrupy, about 4 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, spoon apples over toasts and dollop with ricotta cheese. Drizzle with balsamic-caramel syrup and sprinkle with the almonds. Cut each toast in half and serve right away.

The caramelized apples can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently, adding a tablespoon of water if necessary.