When this dessert blogger got word that the First on the First challenge for November was homemade cheese, three cheeses came to mind: cream cheese, mascarpone, and ricotta. All are critical and delicious components of any baker’s repertoire, but one of them also happens to be remarkably easy to make — ricotta!
The ricotta recipe that follows requires only 4 ingredients. And the best part? It makes the perfect amount to bake ricotta cookies (recipe also below) and have a bit leftover to snack on while they’re baking!
From Gourmet, April 2006
- 2 quarts whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Line a large sieve with a layer of heavy-duty (fine-mesh) cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.
- Slowly bring milk, cream, and salt to a rolling boil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
- Add lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain 1 hour. After discarding the liquid, chill the ricotta, covered; it will keep in the refrigerator 2 days.
For the Cookies:
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
For the Glaze (if desired):
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated.
- Add ricotta cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. Beat to combine.
- Stir in dry ingredients.
- Drop 2 tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges.
- Remove from the oven and let cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, combine the powdered sugar and milk in a small bowl; stir until smooth.
- Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie, use the back of the spoon to gently spread, and garnish with sprinkles, if desired.
See how other sweet and savory bloggers responded to the cheese challenge!