Monday, November 9, 2009

Feeling Fall - Homemade Ricotta on Toast with Persimmon, Hazelnuts & Honey

As much as I love my Sunday Farmer's Market, it's not a one stop shop kind of place. Today I needed to stock up on some basic pantry staples, and after enjoying sleeping in for the first time in recent memory, it was a bit too late to hit the market. I decided Berkeley Bowl would be my best bet for the basics and good produce. Berkeley Bowl is something of a legend in the Bay Area. As the name suggests, it used to be a bowling alley, now it's aisles are stocked with gorgeous produce and hard to find spices, cheeses and other items. A word of caution, however, Berkeley Bowl is an enter at your own risk kind of place. Once you're in, it's every man for himself. The lines are ridiculously long and every Berkeley hippie with dreds and a patchouli fetish is wielding a shopping cart and not afraid to run over your foot or ram you with it. It can be an unpleasant experience, and it can take forever, but mostly, the goods are worth it.

Among the items in my basket were a package of cheesecloth and a large glass bottle of Strauss Family Creamery Whole Milk. Strauss milk is a luxury item in my house, but today I was making my first attempt at homemade ricotta, so I wanted to use the best ingredients possible. I grabbed a couple of beautiful flaming orange fuyu persimmons as well.

The ricotta couldn't have been easier to make. I couldn't believe how quickly it came together, and with only three ingredients no less. So much tastier than buying a carton from the store. I'm so excited with the results. I spread it on a slice of sourdough I'd baked the day before, added some toasted hazelnuts, a couple slices of persimmon and drizzled some honey over that. A perfect autumn breakfast.

Ricotta and instructions have been all over the blogosphere lately, but I'm adding mine to the pile. The whole process takes about 10 minutes. Go ahead, give it a try!

Homemade Ricotta
adapted from Bon Appetit
makes about 1 cup

4 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Line a colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth. Heat milk and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until just simmering. Stir in the lemon juice. Curds will start to form, continue to simmer for 1-2 minutes. Next, using a slotted spoon or skimmer, remove the curds from the liquid, and transfer to a cheesecloth lined colander. Let the cheese drain for about 1 minutes. Don't drain it for any longer than that, or your cheese will be too dry. Transfer to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Keep chilled. Cheese will keep 2-3 days in the refrigerator.


  1. Great, Elissa. Now I totally want to go buy some cheese cloth.

  2. I've come to believe cheese cloth is a necessity in the kitchen. Fresh ricotta for all!!!

  3. wow, fresh ricotta sounds amazing! I'll have to go shopping for a slotted spoon and some cheese cloth.