A Simple Summer Appetizer (Recipe: Creamy Homemade Ricotta)

Yesterday’s post was epic and last week was busy with a daily canning post. Today, not surprisingly, I don’t have many words. We took time out this weekend to relax, and my Aunt Jenny’s lakeside home was the perfect place.

A terrific cook, my aunt nourished us with roast lamb and other delights; it was wonderful to be cooked for. In-between meals, I sought solace at the end of the dock to process the past month and ponder what lies ahead. Life continues to be unpredictable, wonderful, tragic and mysterious.

I brought a jar of homemade ricotta out to my aunt’s and served it up for breakfast, spooned into bowls and topped with roasted strawberries. I’ve been making ricotta, well, since I was about as high as a bar stool, when I would help my mother make cheese from our goat’s milk. There’s nothing like fresh ricotta.

As I made a batch on Friday, I wondered if I should give up blogging and start giving cooking classes instead (I’m not going to!), because nothing makes me happier than demonstrating to others how simple scratch cooking, such as ricotta, just is.

Perhaps you’ve only seen ricotta in a plastic tub at the supermarket and didn’t even know it could be easily reproduced at home. Well it can, and today, I’ll show you just how.

How to serve fresh ricotta? Well, when we’re not layering it in lasagna, spreading it on crusty bread, or enjoying it with strawberries for breakfast, I like to make a simple summer snack.

Easy entertaining in summer for me means setting out a few fresh ingredients and letting my guests assemble their own food. It may be a sandwich bar, a DIY ice cream sundae, or a simple one bite appetizer like the ones I’m sharing today.

Here I’ve paired a jar of soft, creamy ricotta with crackers and mini toasts, sliced radishes and a jar of slow-roasted tomatoes.

Skip the hummus and pita chips and bring this snack to your next potluck or picnic.

Recipe: Creamy Homemade Ricotta

This recipe is slightly adapted and used with permission from In Jennie’s Kitchen.

Yields approximately 1 1/2 cups.
ingredients:

  • 4 cups organic whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

method:

  1. Prepare a fine sieve over a large bowl. Line the sieve with several layers of cheesecloth or a clean tea towel.
  2. Measure all ingredients into a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot. Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. If you have a thermometer, attach it to the side of the pot. TIP: make sure the bottom of the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pot or you won’t get an accurate reading.
  3. As the mixture heats, it will become grainy, and then, between 175°F and 200°F the liquid will separate and small curds will begin to form. Remove the pot from the heat.
  4. Gently ladle the the curds into the cheesecloth. Once most of the curds are in the cloth, tip the pot and pour the whey into the cloth.
  5. Allow the ricotta to drain for a few minutes, longer if you want a firmer cheese. Enjoy the ricotta warm or transfer to a jar, cover and refrigerate for up to four days.

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Wait! Don’t toss that whey!

I couldn’t bear to dump the whey from my ricotta down the drain and thought it might make the perfect base for crepes. A little experimenting and recipe testing later (the very best kind) I had a recipe for Whey Crepes, served with fresh ricotta and rhubarb compote, of course.

We’ve been enjoying these frequently for Saturday morning breakfasts.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites.

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Comments

  1. Who knew homemade ricotta could be prepared so easily? I can’t wait to give this a try. My kids have only recently discovered that they actually like ricotta so this will be a fun activity we can do together in the kitchen.
    Kelly’s last post: Best Gourmet Coffee Maker For Your Home

  2. Thank you for this recipe! I have started making mozzarella and using the whey to make ricotta afterwards, I didn’t realize there was another option! Thank you!
    Heather’s last post: The Rhythm of Family

  3. One of my favorite posts yet! I love this and am definitely going to try it. Thanks for sharing!!
    CookiePie’s last post: Chocolate peanut butter pie

  4. YUM! I just made some ricotta yesterday and used a part of it for meatballs today. Your recipe is different and looks delicious. And those whey crepes sound like winners!

  5. Thanks for the wonderful Recipe! this Creamy Homemade Ricotta is perfect for summer :)
    katie’s last post: jericho accessories

  6. Yum yum yum. I want to have this for lunch and then make a cheesecake with the rest.
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies’s last post: Keurig K-Cup Ambassador: Donut House Coffee

  7. I’m a big fan of homemade ricotta. And just think Aimee, you do teach a many a viewer here on SB! :)
    Melissa @ Baking For The Boys’s last post: Barbecued Chicken Breasts with Spicy Peach Glaze

  8. Yes! I love the look on people’s faces when they watch the milk turn (magically) into ricotta cheese. It’s really a beautiful thing to see them get excited about making their own food.
    Casey@Good. Food. Stories.’s last post: Orange You Glad There are Pickled Carrots in the Fridge?

  9. Can’t wait to try this! Have you experimented with lower fat milk?

  10. I had no idea it was so easy Aimee!!! I might have to try this soon!

  11. What an awesome idea! So many things in the kitchen are so much easier than we would think they would be!
    Living the Balanced Life’s last post: Resources for managing your home, family and life

  12. Perfect snack ideas :) !!

  13. Youthology review says:

    Yum! My mother used to add ricotta cheese to hot pasta. It was creamy and delicious.

  14. it looks great i am deffenetly going to fix me something like that today, thanks
    dovev’s last post: Choose your mountain bike shoes

  15. How wonderful! I never realized just how easy it is to make from scratch. I love the idea of using it for snacks, too!
    Tracy’s last post: Beet Risotto

  16. I love making my own ricotta. The taste is so fresh and different from store bought. I make mine with lemon juice, but am definitely trying this one with buttermilk!
    Andrea @ From the Bookshelf’s last post: Blythe Danner’s Blueberry Muffins

  17. Thank you for sharing! I am going to give this a try! I love your idea to bring ti a potluck…different!

  18. This recipe looks fabulous. Can’t wait to try it with some fresh milk!

  19. Now that looks amazing! Homemade ricotta? I can’t wait to try this. I love ricotta so I’m sure this would be fantastic! Thanks!
    MikeVFMK’s last post: Berry Trifle and Summer’s Curtain Call

  20. I have never had homemade ricotta, but it looks delicious and you make it sound like a pretty simple process! Love that.
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction’s last post: Essentials: A Secret Weapon for Jar Desserts

  21. I can’t wait to try this! I just read something about making fresh mozarella in Masterchef magazine last night, and now stumble onto your post about making ricotta…. there’s got to be a sign! I’m making cheese over the weekend!

    Thanks,
    stef

  22. Yummy! I can’t wait to give this a try. Thank you for this recipe I never thought home made ricotta can be prepared so easily. Once again thank you!
    Vicki Wilson’s last post: replacement windows

  23. YUMMY!! I Always throw dinner parties and I am always looking for something new for appetizers! Great Recipe!!

    We just started following your blog! Cannot wait for more recipes!

    Love,

    http://chickswholovetoeat.blogspot.com/
    Amy’s last post: Week of Favorites!!

  24. even-star says:

    Not sure if you know this but you can actually use the whey to make more ricotta cheese. Which is how traditional ricotta cheese is made. From the whey left over from other cheese making processes.

  25. Hi,
    This recipe sounds really easy and seems like the ricotta would be delicious. Even-star mentioned above that the wey from other cheese-making products can be used in this recipe. Would it be a 1 for 1 substitution with buttermilk?
    Can’t wait to try it out.
    Anna’s last post: Door County Cherries

  26. I’ve wanted to try making my own ricotta for a while. Thanks for the instructions!
    Lauren’s last post: What’s in my (grocery) bag?

  27. I have never once thought of making my own ricotta! Thanks so much for the light bulb moment. I’m already in love with the slow-roasted tomato recipe, so it’s a no brainer! I love your blog and have followed it for quite a while now. I’ve added you to my blogroll on my new blog officially launching at the beginning of September. Keep up the good work!

  28. Who knew that making your own Ricotta was so simple? Delicious!
    Kristen’s last post: Distracted Cleaning {Recipe: Oatmeal Pumpkin Bundt Cake}

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