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Ricotta Beignets

Ricotta Beignets

This unlikely duo first met when Brown hired Pham as his sous-chef at a restaurant in Provo, Utah. Their disparate upbringings—Brown on a ranch in Arizona, Pham in the Bay Area—have led to their signature style of using a mix of locally foraged greens and other edibles with high-end ingredients such as spot prawns, diver scallops, or elk tenderloin. The result is sophisticated, elegant fare with a whimsical, homespun touch. Oh, and they love cheese.
Culture: Utah is producing some really great cheese. What are some of your favorites?
Viet Pham: I love Snowy Mountain Sheep Creamery. We use Strawberry Peak, an alpine style mixed with Jersey milk, as well as Delano Peak (sheep’s blue) and Timpanogos Peak (Brie-style sheep’s blue).
Bowman Brown: I also like Rockhill Creamery’s Dark Canyon, which is a semihard Edam made from Brown Swiss milk. We use Beehive Cheese Co.’s Promontory Apple Walnut Smoked Cheddar . . . and Helena (raw cow) and Dulcinea (raw sheep) from Lark’s Meadow, a sheep’s milk dairy from Rexburg, Idaho. We like to use different European cheeses, too.
Culture: Obviously, given the name of the restaurant, foraged foods are a part of your menu. Can you give some examples?
Viet Pham: We both forage from spring to late fall. We use things like wild watercress, elderflowers, onion flowers, purslane.
Culture: How would you use cheese with these?
Bowman Brown:We’ll serve wild greens, herbs, or flowers with a fresh cheese. In the colder months we’ll pair rich cheeses with wild elderberry jam or with something acidic, such as wild rose hip jelly and pickled apples.



  • 1 cup good-quality ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons lovage or Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ clove garlic minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt to taste


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying


  • THE FILLING: Several hours before serving, mix the cheese, lovage, and garlic until thoroughly combined. Add
  • the lemon juice, and season to taste with salt. Mix to combine. Divide the cheese into teaspoon-size lumps on a small baking sheet or plate. Freeze the cheese lumps until hard.
  • THE BATTER: Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it’s lukewarm. Remove from the heat, and combine the milk, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large, nonreactive (stainless steel, ceramic, or glass) bowl. Whisk in the flour; the batter will appear thick. Let stand in a warm, draft-free place for 30 minutes. Beat the egg white until peaks form (they should be a bit past soft peaks in texture), and fold into the batter. Let the batter stand for 1 hour.
  • To make the beignets, remove the cheese from the freezer. Using a candy thermometer, heat the vegetable oil to 340°F in a stockpot. Working in batches of three or four, roll each cheese lump into a smooth ball, and using a spoon, coat each ball evenly with the batter. Once coated, carefully slide each ball into the hot oil. Fry until golden and remove with a slotted spoon. Drain the beignets on paper towels, and cool slightly before serving.

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