Sweet treat so cheesy
Show off a homemade ricotta-making technique
THIS was served to us in the venerable restaurant Los Caracoles (The Snails) in Barcelona – home-made cheese with crunchy walnuts scattered round the plate, and a glass half-filled with honey for pouring.
We wondered how hard it would be to make cheese at home and we discovered that it’s not hard at all, as long as you have patience.
You need to let the liquid drip out of the curds for at least 48 hours to ensure the texture is firm enough to mould and slice.
Mel i mato (homemade ricotta with walnuts and honey)
Many cheeses are fermented with rennet – an enzyme from the stomach of a cow. Ours is fermented with lemon and buttermilk, making it suitable for vegetarians.
INGREDIENTS: 2 litres milk, organic and unhomogenised if possible , 500 ml (2 cups) buttermilk, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, top-quality honey, for drizzling , 50g walnuts, roasted
METHOD: In a large saucepan, combine the milk, buttermilk and the lemon juice.
Gently warm the milk over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Leave to simmer for 30 minutes, but do not let the milk boil.
The mixture will begin to separate and form small curds and a watery whey.
Now let the milk sit undisturbed at room temperature until cool.
Line a strainer with muslin (cheesecloth) and set it over a bowl.
Once the milk is cool, carefully pour or spoon the curds through the cheesecloth, allowing the whey to drain away.
Leaving it sitting over the bowl, refrigerate the ricotta overnight for a firmer texture.
The final texture of the cheese will depend on the draining time, with longer draining giving a firmer, drier result.
Store the ricotta in the fridge and use within 1 week. Before serving, drizzle with honey and scatter roasted walnuts on top.
◗ Impress friends by making your own ricotta for this tasty dessert.
Image and recipe from Coastline by Lucio Galletto and David Dale (Murdoch Books, RRP $59.99, available now).