Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holiday Guide Day 14 of 26: Homemade Ricotta Hostess Gift

My husband loves to make fun of my very historical alma mater, often joking that I graduated with a degree in butter churning.  Although my sweet little College of William and Mary is located in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, and although more than once I found myself in line at the grocery store behind Thomas Jefferson, I never once made my own butter (or candles, for the record).  Who has time to churn butter when you're busy running across campus naked?

Fast forward a few years and two kids later, and now my idea of a fun Saturday night is making my own cheese.  I'm basically Frank the Tank.

Making ricotta is very straightforward and requires no special ingredients, equipment or skill, really, making it the perfect "I made this for you" gift.  I followed this recipe from A Beautiful Mess, although in my experience it takes a little longer than the time indicated in the recipe.

My favorite ways to eat ricotta are paired with prosciutto and truffle honey.  Ricotta and fig jam on toast is also a tasty treat for breakfast.

Package your ricotta in a mason jar and pair it with the following for a lovely + tasty hostess gift:

Crusty, fresh baked bread (photo from here), custom labels like these, strawberry fig pate or black truffle honey (which is also great atop pecorino), both from Dean and Deluca.

Here are the instructions as they originally appear on A Beautiful Mess.  

Homemade Ricotta Cheese, makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups.
6 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
First over a large glass bowl place a fine mesh sieve covered with a few layers of cheese cloth
In a large non reactive pot (stainless steel or ceramic works best here) combine the milk, heavy cream and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is warmed through. Turn up the heat just a little add the lemon juice and vinegar. You don't really need to stir much, just every minute or so to be sure the bottom of the mixture isn't burning. Your milk should curdle after 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into your prepared sieve.

Allow this to drain for 15-20 minutes. Once drained you can store your cheese in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to seven days.


  1. I kind of knew that ricotta and paneer were essentially the same, but this is almost our exact paneer recipe!

  2. Butter is crazy easy to make ps. - Throw some whipping cream in a jar, screw the lid on tight, and give it to the kids to shake for a good 10 minutes (well.. maybe 1 minute for them, then the grown-up of the group gets the 9 minute shift).

    Thanks for this though! My brother-in-law is getting a homemade mozzarella making kit and I was jealous. Now I will show off my mad ricotta making skills with the family and order will be restored.


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