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Yes, You Get Dessert

A sweet ending to Maryland Buy Local

You ate all your locally raised vegetables, fruits, eggs and meat every day during Maryland Buy Local Week.
    Now you can have dessert.
    Naturally, it’s Maryland made, from the farmer to the chef to you.
    At Governor Martin O’Malley’s sixth annual Buy Local Cookout, the sweetest thing on the menu was Chef Douglas Wetzel’s Gertrude’s Charolettetown Farm Ricotta Doughnuts with Peach Caramel Sauce.
    “Hmmmmm! That smells good,” said the governor’s new assistant chief of staff, Olivia Campbell-Anderson, as I bit into a still-hot fritter.
    Wetzel says donut. I say fritter, as his donuts are round balls with no holes.
    Semantics aside, it was delicious. As you’d expect from the executive pastry chef at Gertrude’s, John Shield’s Chesapeake-centric restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
    Conspiring with him on these deep-fried delights were Pam Miller of Baltimore County’s Charlottetown Farm, supplier of the fresh goat ricotta that Wetzel told me made all the difference.
    “The goat cheese ricotta is great to work with and doesn’t absorb the oil,” he said.
    Hens at Valerie Smith’s Baltimore County Springfield Farm laid the eggs that helped make the fritters light.
    At Carroll County’s Black Rock Orchard, Emily Zaas raised the peaches for the drizzle of peach caramel sauce.
    Don’t be daunted by deep-frying, Wetzel says. “It’s easy to make. The donuts are hard to overcook. They’re done when they’re golden brown.

Ricotta Doughnuts

6 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 pound ricotta
2-1/2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla vegetable oil for frying

    In a mixing bowl, whip together eggs and sugar until pale white and creamy. Stir in the ricotta and mix well.
    In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. Mix the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Add the vanilla extract and mix well, but do not over mix.
    Pour oil into a large saucepan to about 2 to 3 inches deep. Heat oil to 360 degrees. Scoop 1 tablespoon of batter at a time into the hot oil. Do not over crowd. The balls will sink to the bottom and begin to rise as they cook. Using tongs, turn the doughnuts often as they brown. When nicely browned, remove the doughnuts with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.
    Serve doughnuts warm with Peach Caramel Sauce.

Peach Caramel Sauce

2-1/2 cups sugar
2 tbs. Karo syrup
1 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 cups diced fresh peeled peaches

    In a heavy saucepan, add the sugar, Karo and 1/2 cup of the water. Bring to a boil and continue cooking until mixture begins to turn a dark brown. While that is cooking, in a separate saucepan, bring the remaining 1/2 cup water and the heavy cream to a boil.
    When the sugar mixture has turned a dark, golden brown, remove from stove and very slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture, a little at a time. Return to heat and bring back to a boil, then remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Add the peaches, return to heat and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
    
    To make your continuing fresh summer eating all the more delicious, Maryland growers of fruits, vegetables, fish, fowl and flesh team up with local chefs to combine the freshest ingredients into the most tempting recipes. Two-dozen teams from across the state submitted the recipes to the 2013 Maryland Buy Local Cookbook.
    Find the Cookbook online at http://mda.maryland.gov/
Documents/cookbook13.pdf.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com