The Food Network star has penned 11 cookbooks—but this recipe is her all-time favorite.
Credit: Photo courtesy of PEOPLE Magazine.

This week, Katie Couric went into one of the most impressive kitchens we've ever seen to get to know Ina Garten just a little bit better. Garten shared her life story with Couric (you can watch the entire interview below), and since she's known to open up about her favorite things, it's no surprise that Garten also shared which of the Barefoot Contessa recipes is her absolute favorite.

You may be surprised to learn that it's not an entrée. Instead, it’s a fig ricotta cake, which both Couric and Garten make on camera while the interview takes place.

Couric asked her why this particular recipe is her all-time favorite, and Ina's reasoning is pretty spot-on: it's an easy-to-make treat, and the fresh flavors are delicious when paired together.

"Something about ricotta, lemon, and vanilla," Garten says. "They're all great flavors together."

The beauty of Ina Garten's favorite dish is that it can be made with any fleshy fruit—including peaches or plums—and it's one of the most delicious ways to use fresh figs in your kitchen. Figs are one of the best end-of-summer fruits, first in season in the height of June and once again at the tail end of August, which is why Ina's recipe is so delectable.

Love to cook alongside the Barefoot Contessa? Read more:

There are many ways you can incorporate fresh figs into classic baked goods, like in our figgy walnut muffins or a savory fig and pistachio fruitcake. But Garten's combo of fresh fruit and creamy ricotta cheese is something you could also riff on with our classic ricotta toast or even in a ricotta-based cheesecake.

Garten shares the story of how she ended up writing her very first cookbook, too—you might be shocked to learn that Ina Garten wasn’t always a professional cook. She first worked within the United States Department of Energy in the 1960s before eventually opening a specialty food store in the Hamptons. When she wasn't able to sell the shop later on in life, she settled on writing a cookbook—the very beginning of her journey as the "Barefoot Contessa."

Later this month, Cook Like a Pro—Ina's eleventh cookbook!—will hit stores nationwide. You'll also be able to catch her on the Food Network when her show returns on Sunday, October 21.