Ricotta is a smooth, unripened Italian cheese with a creamy, subtly sweet taste. Low in fat and high in protein, this cheese is uniquely versatile and has long been a favourite of chefs and home cooks for far more than lasagna and pasta fillings. Spread it on toast or use it as a light and delicious layer in a cake or try these exceptionally light ricotta fritters from Chef Mark McEwan.
Traditional ricotta cheese is made by several Ontario cheesemakers, but Chef Mark also shares his recipe for housemade ricotta cheese to give you end-to-end bragging rights.
In a largesaucepan, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil to 375°F (185°C). Set a large wire rack over a baking sheet, top with paper towels and position it near the saucepan.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla with a wooden spoon.Add the ricotta and beat until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and beat just until blended.
Using a very small ice cream scoop or 2 teaspoons, slide 8 walnut-sizedrounds of batter into the hot oil. Fry over moderate heat until deep golden all over and cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fritters to the rack to drain. Continue frying the remaining fritters in batches of 8. Arrange the fritters on a platter and dust well with confectioners' sugar.
Add cream and milk to heavy bottom pan.
Set the stove to medium-high heat.
Bring the milk mixture to a temperature of 190°F (85°C); just before a simmer.
Mix the lemon juice and salt together, then slowly stir into the hot milk mixture.
Continue to stir the milk until you can seethe milk separatingfrom water and turninginto curd.
Strain the curd using the strainer or cheeseclothand let it strain for about 15 to 20 minutes (the longer you strain,the thicker the cheese).
Transfer the cheese toa plastic container and store in the fridgefor up to 2 weeks.