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This past Saturday we hosted a collaborative brunch with a couple of friends. By collaborative, I mean we all pitched in with one or two parts of the meal. One friend brought home-made waffles, while another brought home-made maple syrup, a huge fruit platter, bacon and we supplied sausages, ricotta, whipped cream, smoked salmon and coffee. We may have had morning glories as well (Prosecco and OJ). It was quite the feast! No one left the table hungry at least I don’t think so!

That's quite the pile of ricotta on that waffle, isn't it?

I had wanted to contribute something a little more unusual to the brunch, so I scoured the net. My ‘friend’ John made cream cheese recently and posted about it on his blog From the Bartolini Kitchen; hmmmm, from that post I was linked to another post where he made Ricotta Cheese. I have always wanted to make my own cheese and the ricotta seemed like a great place to start. Plus having a group of people for brunch meant that I wouldn’t have too much left over! We had ricotta with the smoked salmon AND topped off the waffles with it. Quite tasty indeed! Thanks John, I will be making this again and again.

John’s recipe was easy to follow and came together quickly. The only thing I changed is that I halved the recipe because I felt one pound of ricotta would be enough for brunch, and perhaps a lovely appetizer for Sunday dinner with nephew Brian.

Hey, where's the syrup?

Albert Capone’s Homemade Ricotta Recipe (adapted From the Bartolini Kitchen)

Total time: 30 minutes to prepare, at least 2 hours to drain.

Makes about 1 lb fresh ricotta

Ingredients:

  • 1.9 L whole milk (homo)
  • 0.5 L heavy cream
  • 1/2 tbsp table salt
  • 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar

Directions:

  1. Combine milk, cream, and salt in a large non-reactive pot and stir over medium heat as you bring the temperature up to 85°C (185°F) (about 15-20 minutes).
  2. Add the vinegar all at once and stir for 15 seconds; heat for two more minutes before removing from heat.
  3. Allow to rest undisturbed for 15 – 20 minutes; using a small sieve or slotted spoon, remove the floating curds and place them in a cheesecloth-lined colander to drain (I used coffee filters).
  4. Place colander over a bowl in refrigerator and drain for at least a couple of hours or overnight (I found 3 hours was enough). The longer you allow it to drain, the more firm the results.
  5. Remove the ricotta from the colander, place in airtight containers, and refrigerate.
  6. Ricotta will last up to 2 weeks.

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