Shannon's blog-sitting for me while I'm caught up with one crisis after another. (I can't wait for this year to end ... seriously).
If you haven't met her by now, hop over to her mostly gluten-free blog, JustAsDelish ... totally healthy and inspiring and get acquainted with one of the sweetest people I've met.
She's also the reason behind my falling in love with quinoa! And she recently came out runner-up in the Nutriplus baking competition with her fancy mushroom quiche! I can tell you she'd had a better year than I did. Yay for her!
So, enjoy reading her wonderful post, get inspired and run off to your kitchens and try your hand at making homemade ricotta.
Here she is ....
Hello, all you Ping's Pickings readers! I'm Shannon from JustAsDelish.com. A gazillion thanks to Ping for asking to me guest post on her fabulous blog. As this is my 1st guest post, I was pretty nervous when she asked. I'm very honoured to do so but I was undecided on which recipe to share because she's such a fabulous cook & baker. Hmm.. what recipe for Ping?
One of the things I enjoy is making food from scratch.. food that is sold in the jars/cans - like condensed milk, peanut butter, yogurt. If a factory can produce them, there should be a recipe for me to try at home. There's nothing more satisfying to me than making them fresh. So what's more apt than sharing a "made from scratch" recipe - Homemade Ricotta Cheese.
Ricotta is a soft Italian curd cheese, light and creamy with a slightly grainy texture and delicate flavour. Making fresh cheese is easier than you think. If you know how to make Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese), the recipe is almost similar with milk & an acid (lemon juice or vinegar). Making ricotta needs 2 extra ingredient - plain yogurt and cream. Adding cream did indeed give an even richer edge. It's also possible to make ricotta with just milk, it will be less indulgent & 'healthier'.
When I suggest to my friend Tracy to make her own Ricotta cheese for her ravioli, she look at me dumbfounded. Making Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli calls for a large amount of ricotta, and a very good 200g ricotta costs RM30 (USD10). She don't believe me how easy (and cheap) it is until I demonstrated to her. In 10 minutes with very little effort, we have a lovely mound of freshly made, still warm ricotta for the price of 1 liter of milk. We tested 2 batches of ravioli with store-bought & freshly made ricotta, and the ones with homemade ricotta win hands-down!
Homemade ricotta makes a wonderful base for Italian cheesecakes, ravioli fillings, and lasagna. Serving slightly warm ricotta over berries or peaches with a drizzle of honey makes a lovely dessert.
For the upcoming Christmas dinner parties & year end celebration, try serving freshly made ricotta accompanied with some stewed fruit compote or poached fruits. Trust me, your guests will be very impressed.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Makes: about 200g Ricotta Cheese
1 liter whole (full cream) Milk
1/2 cup (125ml) plain Yogurt
1/2 cup (125ml) Cream - Optional
1 teaspoon vinegar (or lemon juice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. In a large pot, bring the milk, yogurt, cream (if using), and salt to a soft boil.
2. Add in vinegar (or lemon juice) and boil for 1-2 two minutes, or until the milk curdled.
3. Meanwhile, line a strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and set it over a deep bowl/pot.
4. Pour the milk mixture into the strainer and let drain for 15 minutes. Gather the cheesecloth around the curds and squeeze gently to extract any excess liquid. And you have warm fresh ricotta
* Homemade ricotta is best served slightly warm, or keep it refrigerated for up to three days, if desired.
* The liquid that is drained out is whey. You can throw it out, or I save it to use in place of milk for my cooking & baking.