Monday, July 18, 2011

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

 

I must admit, my grandma never made cheese; but she did always joke about making soap. I’ve got soap covered, so I gave myself a new challenge.

Ya’ll are going to be so spoiled with this homemade ricotta cheese. So smooth, rich, creamy, you’ll be looking for anything to spread it on – and it’s SO easy to make.

(Keep reading for grilled peaches stuffed with ricotta cheese!)

I researched a few different recipes and came up with this simple alternative, you only need four ingredients.

3 cups milk

1 cup cream

2 lemons

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Homemade cheese can be this easy?

Yes!

What am I going to do with homemade cheese?

Just taste it. You’ll be looking for anything to put it on. This stuff could make cardboard taste good.

For real.

First heat up 3 cups of milk, 1 cup cream, and salt to 190 degrees F.

Use medium heat.

Stir occasionally to keep it from scalding, and don’t let your thermometer touch the bottom of the pan or you’ll be reading the pot temp and not the milk temp.

Keep an eye on it, at times it foams and bubbles, and…. grows.

Just stir.

 

Set up a bowl, a strainer, and cheesecloth.

I didn’t have cheesecloth, so I used a clean dish towel. (This was my picture while it was straining)

Make it do.

Because I’m a goof, I didn’t take the pic before I strained the cheese into the bowl, but you get the idea.

 

 

Once it reaches 190 degrees F, TURN OFF THE HEAT. Then, add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice – that’s about 2 lemons. Stir it once or twice to mix that lemon juice throughout.

Now is the fun part. Let the pot sit for ten minutes. The acid in the lemon juice curdles the milk mixture, and separates the whey (protein) from the solids (milk fat, which equals CHEESE).

Interestingly enough, you can add any acid, vinegar, vitamin C powder, buttermilk; I chose lemon juice.

Experiment on your own; I encourage it!

After ten minutes pour it into your strainer set-up.

Now wait.

Next, wait, this part is funner. Yup, funner.

Let it sit for 1 – 2 hours. The longer you let it sit, the firmer it gets.

After one hour, you’ve got a sour cream consistency, two hours, soft cream cheese.

This recipe makes about a cup and a quarter, and it should keep at least a week.

Have your husband taste it after that.

You’ve got ricotta cheese people!

You are a cheese master.

You are smart.

People like you.

What to do with it?

Well, I had white bread.

I had cinnamon sugar.

I had cinnamon ricotta toast.

The grand finale?

Grilled peaches, stuffed with ricotta cheese, and topped with a balsamic vinegar reduction.

Sounds complicated. It’s not.

I had it for the first time at Alamo Drafthouse, a theater here in Austin where they serve you food while you watch  movie, GENIUS! Then I found the recipe here.

So….

Grill a peach. Use the BBQ or a cast iron pan.

I used a pan.

Five minutes each side.

I’m not kidding you when I admit this is the best “dessert” I’ve had in my life.

Other than anything chocolate.

But really, it’s good.

Then stuff with ricotta.

Then add a balsamic vinegar reduction.

Don’t hide. Get your head out from under the table. Or couch. Or desk. Whatever you’re currently reading on.

Balsamic vinegar reduction is simply 2 parts balsamic vinegar, one part brown sugar – cooked down.

So, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup brown sugar go into a non-stick skillet, cook it about 4-6 minutes on medium-high, until it gets thick and syrupy.

Let it cool.

If you’re impatient like me and throw the whole thing together while the syrupy stuff is still hot, it tastes a little vinegar-y….. which some might say is a lovely contrast with the sweet warm peaches.

Let it cool, and it’s heaven.

So, make with it what you want. But most importantly, make some cheese.

What are ya’ll going to make with it? Tell me!

 

~Peace, Love, and Cheese Ya’ll!

 

~Stay tuned this month! For those who have signed up for The Hill Country Cook’s newsletter, we had a little recipe contest. Members emailed with an ingredient they’d like to see me cook with this month, then I took a poll for the winning ingredient on Facebook.

The winner was: Dessert category. Ingredient – fresh coconut.

HA! This should be good.

I’m sure ya’ll would love to see me attempt this on film while trying to avoid severing any phalangees.

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Ricotta Cheese

Yield: 3 cups

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours draining/firming time

Ingredients:

3 cups milk

1 cup cream

3 T lemon juice (2 lemons)

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Directions:

Heat milk, cream, and salt over medium heat until it reaches 190 degrees. Turn heat off and add juice of 2 lemons, or 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, stir gently, wait ten minutes. Pour curdled mixture into a towel lined strainer over a bowl. Wait one hour for sour cream consistency, two hours for soft cream cheese mixture. Store covered in a glass container, refrigerated.

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One Response to “Homemade Ricotta Cheese”

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    The Hill Country Cook » Cream Cheese Pound Cake…. and other news — March 12, 2013 @ 9:52 pm

    […] Or to be toasted and topped with ricotta, grilled peaches and balsamic reduction. […]

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