It seems only right that I should follow the post about mozzarella with the byproduct that gets made from the resultant whey produced when you make it! Ricotta! I will buy ricotta from time to time from the supermarket even though I know it is not a patch on the real thing. I remember seeing a Jamie Oliver programme where he served up fresh ricotta for a dessert with honey and biscuits and I could tell it was nothing like what gets packaged into plastic tubs and sold here! It made a great deal of sense to have a go at transforming the whey from the mozzarella into ricotta, and I used this cheesemaking site as my main reference for making it. It is a fabulous resource for all things cheese and I have found it really useful. The basic process is to leave the whey in a container for 12-24 hours at room temperature, then you heat it (not quite boiling it) and miraculously teensy, delicate curds form. You take it off the heat and leave it to 'cook' for about 15 minutes then the tricky part is scooping them out as they break up quite easily. I scooped them into a lined colander (I just used 2 layers of clean chux cloths and they worked fine), and left them to drain overnight in the fridge. I gathered the cloth up and gave it a final squeeze to get the last of the liquid out and voila! The yield was about a cup of ricotta, not alot but not bad I thought. And it is simply stunning, slightly sour, creamy and light.
The next dilemma was what to make with it! I thought I would make something simple so went with Nigella's Ricotta Hotcakes from Forever Summer
I have made these before with the store bought ricotta and while they were nice I didn't find them that spectacular to be honest. Well, what a difference was made by using this ricotta, these hotcakes were fabulously light and tangy -such a different flavour and texture, I am in LOVE with them! Nigella suggests serving these with strawberries but I served them with a vanilla berry syrup made with frozen berries(strawberries are a few months away yet!)
Ricotta Hot Cakes
250g ricotta cheese
125ml semi-skimmed milk
2 large eggs, separated
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 teaspoons oil
(strawberries on the side.)
Mix ricotta, milk and egg yolks. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat egg whites until foamy; fold into mix. Heat oil, drop heaped tablespoons of batter into pan. Cook about 1 minute per side. They should be a nice golden brown. Serve with maple syrup and strawberries.