Make home-made ricotta (and use it for these apple and honey tarts)
by Emma MacDonald
Making ricotta is not as challenging as it sounds and this version of the Italian soft cheese is wonderfully rich, creamy and indulgent. The taste will depend on the quality of the milk and the cream that you use – the best-quality dairy produce will obviously result in a ricotta with a superior flavour and texture.
It doesn’t take long to make and, once it’s ready, add some vanilla and create some sweet vanilla ricotta cream. Then you can spoon it alongside some delicious Apple and Honey Tarts.
Easy home-made ricotta recipe
Makes: 400g/14oz/generous 1½ cups
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
875ml/30fl oz/3½ cups whole milk
125ml/4fl oz/½ cup double cream
½ tsp salt
3 tbsp lemon juice
Heat the milk, cream and salt in a large stainless steel saucepan until it reaches 88°C/190°F. Stir the mixture occasionally to prevent it catching on the bottom of the pan.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice, then stir gently and slowly a few times and leave the pan to stand for 5 minutes. The milk mixture should start to curdle and separate almost immediately.
Line a sieve with a large square of muslin, folded into three layers, and set it over a bowl. Pour in the milk mixture and leave to stand for at least 1 hour. After 1 hour, you should have a spreadable cheese and after 2 hours, the ricotta will have the texture of soft cream cheese.
Discard the whey in the bowl and transfer the ricotta to a bowl if eating straight away.
Alternatively, transfer it to an airtight container and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
Apple & Honey Tarts with Ricotta
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus chilling
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Nothing beats the classic combination of honey-glazed apples and buttery shortcrust pastry – unless, of course, it’s served with a sweet vanilla ricotta cream!
½ recipe quantity Ricotta
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g/2½oz/scant ¹∕³ cup caster sugar
2 eggs, separated
2 small, firm tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced crossways
2 tbsp clear honey
200g/7oz/scant 1²∕³ cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting
a pinch of salt
1 tsp caster sugar
125g/4½oz cold unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, then stir in the sugar. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Drizzle in up to 2 tablespoons water, stirring with a fork and then your hands to bring the pastry together into a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Lightly grease 12 holes of a non-stick deep muffin tin. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface, then cut out 12 x 10cm/4in rounds. Line the holes of the muffin tin with the pastry so that it reaches just above the edge of each one. Chill until ready to fill the tarts.
Mix together the ricotta, vanilla, sugar and egg yolks in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Whisk the egg whites until they form firm peaks. Gradually fold the egg whites into the ricotta mixture. Spoon 2 heaped tablespoons into each tart case and top with 3–4 apple slices. Bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is light golden, the filling has risen and the apples are tender. Remove and cool for 10 minutes. Prise the tarts out of the tin and put them on a wire rack. Melt the honey in a pan, then brush it over the apples. Serve warm.
Having grown up on the family’s delicious, homemade Cucumber Relish, Emma Macdonald had the simple idea that full-flavored, quality chutneys and preserves needed to be brought to the specialty sector. In The BayTree Home Deli Recipes she reveals all her deli-ingredient making secrets and shows you how to create delicious meals from them.
“These days, staying in is the new going out, and homemade deli is the way to eat gourmet!”
The Bay Tree Home Deli Recipes by Emma Macdonald
224 pages • Illustrated • £20.00
AUS $32.99 NZ $42.00
£20 l Buy the book now with free UK postage!
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