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baked buttermilk ricotta.

Updated: Jan 20

This easy recipe is an old dinner party classic which sounds plain and boring but with accompaniments becomes something fantastic,

It is great for entertaining, for a starter to share or a light evening meal. I've added the extra step of making your own ricotta cheese which can be made through other methods. ricotta often the by product of cheesemaking and churning butter.

It is easy to make with a little lemon juice if you find you have an excess of milk in your fridge which is close to its best before date.

The best part of this recipe is the toppings which go so well with it. I suppose by omitting some of the salt from the base it would do well as a dessert, but for me savoury is what comes to mind.

Favourite versions on the past menus have been

Sliced plums, black pepper and nigella.

Steamed forced rhubarb with chilli and caraway.

Roast peppers, garlic and wild mushroom sambal.

The trend being rich vegetables or fruits with a spiced oil marinade.

I bet roast strawberries with balsamic and olive oil would be a great dessert.

To make buttermilk ricotta you will need approx 3 str cultured buttermilk.

Simply heat the milk gently in a pot stirring from time to time until it reaches 80 degrees C.

It will be very apparent the milk has split, so probably wont need to check the temperature. If for some reason the milk doesn't split into curds and whey by the time it boils squeeze the juice of a lemon into the milk.

Let the milk/whey mix cool before straining. If it is strained too quickly the solids will pass through your cloth. Let the protein in the milk set up for about 20 minutes before pouring the mix through a tea towel or cheese cloth.

Cultured whey has a number of uses in the kitchen which will be included in future posts.

its not needed for the remaining recipe so can be discarded.

You may also buy ricotta pre made, it does make the difference between an easy snack and a labour of love.

Baked ricotta

200g ricotta

1 egg

2 tsp thyme

30g grated parmesan (fresh, don't be temped to use pre grated)

3g Salt

Zest of 1/2 lemon

50g milk

1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

2. Pour into baking dish approx 2-3 cm deep. this can all be done up to a day in advance.

3. bake at 200C for 15 minutes or until set and beginning to turn golden. if you give the baking dish a shake it should seem firm. it doesn't need to have a golden top. just firm set is fine it may become a touch grainy if it goes too long.

a summer topping I recommend is sliced plums with chilli and caraway dressing.

thinly slice plums and arrange onto of baked ricotta top with caraway and chilli oil and flaky salt.

caraway oil

15g caraway

15g korean pepper flakes

15g crack black pepper

700g cold pressed rapeseed oil (olive oil works well too)

Heat oil to 150C, pour over spices. Allow to cool at room temperature.

keep in a sealed jar at room temperature and will last the test of time.

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