Ricotta-honey gelato with orange
It doesn't require any special equipment and you can find all the ingredients at the supermarket. And the results are so much better than almost any commercial ricotta you can buy that you won't believe it's the same stuff. This is ricotta you can - and maybe should - eat by itself.
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Photo: Bob Chamberlin
2 cups home-made ricotta
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
2/3 cup honey
Ingredients for Home-made ricotta
9 cups whole milk
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp salt
2½ tbsp distilled vinegar
Puree all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Taste and add more honey or liqueur if necessary; the flavour should be quite pronounced as it will become muted after freezing.
Pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any clumps, then freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. The texture will be slightly grainy.
For the best flavour, the gelato should be eaten the same day.
Heat the milk and buttermilk in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat to a temperature of about 185 degrees. Stir in the salt and vinegar and remove from the heat. Let stand until curds have formed, between 5 and 10 minutes. Pull the curds gently to the side.
Line a strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Using a perforated skimmer, gently lift the mass of curds out of the pot and into the cheesecloth-lined strainer. Repeat until no more curds remain. Discard the remaining whey.
Drain the curds for 5 minutes then transfer to a covered container to store in the refrigerator until ready to use. The ricotta is best used the same day but will still be good for two to three days.
Makes 2 cups
Note: This recipe requires a thermometer.
What do you do with home-made ricotta⁄ How about spooning a mound in the centre of a platter, drizzling it with good olive oil and seasoning it with sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Surround it with toasted bread slices and maybe some grilled eggplant, zucchini or peppers.
For dessert, do the same thing but drizzle with honey instead of oil and serve it with fresh berries or cut fruit, with sliced toasted almonds scattered over the top.
If you need a main course, mix ricotta with some chopped fresh herbs, spoon it onto a square of cooked fresh pasta, lay another square on top and drizzle everything with sage butter. Instant lasagna. If you don't have enough time, simply use the herbed ricotta to dress al dente dried pasta such as penne.