homemade essentials: ricotta

peachtart

Ricotta is not necessarily a staple in our home, but cheese is. Ricotta is traditionally made from the leftover whey of another cheese, but my stomach is very sensitive to the “recooked” version.  I’ve never had an issue with eating it fresh like this and I love how simple it is to make. It’s so mild and light that it can easy be substituted for mascarpone in the right dessert.

The tart featured is a half recipe from Vegetarian Times.   I made the entire crust recipe at once, but divided into two different days. Refrigerating the dough over night, then allowing it to come to room temperature before baking was no problem.

lemon juice

Ricotta
Makes about 2 cups of cheese {& 2 quarts of whey}*

2 quarts whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 Tablespoons lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons) or distilled vinegar

Line a sieve with a cheese cloth and place over a large bowl or pot.

In another medium pot, heat milk gradually to 180°F, stirring occasionally. Drop heat to low and gently stir in salt and lemon juice or vinegar. Do not boil, but keep mixture on low setting just until the milk begins to curdle. Turn off heat and allow milk to sit for about 10-15 minutes.

Ladle or gently pour milk through the cheese cloth and sieve. Leave for 1-2 hours, until cheese is slightly firm and the whey has drained into the pot. Refrigeration will help it firm up further.

{Whey is full of protein that can be added to smoothies, stock or bread dough. Note that whey contains most of the lactose, so if you’re sensitive be careful. You can always give it to plants or animals for a nutritional boost. }

ricotta1

{immediately set aside to drain}

ricotta2

{…after one hour}

peachtart{whipped with sugar and baked with fresh fruit}

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