One of the simplest ways to enjoy fresh ricotta is just to puree it smoothly in the blender with a little sweetener and flavor...but that is not much of a recipe, and it is not an original recipe of mine. Inspired by that blender technique, I began to apply some of what I have learned from making stove top custard, and from there going on to ice cream. Given the high New England season, I have decided to use some grade B maple syrup (it is actually from last season) to sweeten this, egg yolks to make a lovely yellow color, Meyer lemon and nutmeg to enhance the flavors. Period. There could be many more flavors and spices, but I want to explore this restrained palette. The custard is lovely. The ice cream is really heavenly smooth. I could not resist sneaking in a smidgen of fresh rosemary to the ice cream in the processor. I was also going to offer a maple syrup drizzle, but now I suggest you savor the ice cream simply on its own, but just maybe with a fresh rosemary sprig. - Sagegreen —Sagegreen
Test Kitchen Notes
Always ready to take an idea and run with it, Sagegreen has jazzed up a simple custard with a strong dose of lemon and nutmeg and an undertone of maple. While it is wonderful without rosemary, just a touch is a nice addition to the thick, luxurious custard. I'm partial to ice cream, but if you're prone to brain freeze, try it on it's own. —Stephanie Bourgeois
In a blender splash in the lemon juice. Let the syrup ooze in next. Flick in the zest. Next scoop in the ricotta. Sneak in a little heavy cream. Crack each yolk in, one at a time. Finish with half the nutmeg. If you know you love rosemary, then add 1/8 teaspoon of finely minced fresh leaves. Otherwise, leave them out! Whirl into a tizzy until dazed completely smooth.
In a double boiler or very heavy saucepan bring this velvety mix to a very slow simmer. Do not boil. To prevent your yolks from curdling, stir like a dervish if you did not opt for the double boiler method . Simmer for about 7-10 minutes until the custard has thickened. Take off heat and place a sheet of parchment on top to prevent skim ...unless of course you want to savor the skim top later. (Just as a test I also baked some of these in egg coddlers in a hot water bath; you can see some photos).
If you love warm custard, you can stop right here and serve these up; just let them cool off enough so they are not too hot to eat. Otherwise, let cool, chill and serve several hours later in a custard form. But if you want the ice cream version, chill completely, best overnight. And you may be waiting for your ice cream maker to chill in the freezer, anyway.
Process the chilled custard using directions with your ice cream maker. To serve, grate the remaining fresh nutmeg on top or garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs. If you have a sweet tooth, consider a drizzle of grade A maple syrup. Alternative finishes include toasted pine nuts, hot dark chocolate sauce or chips, or hot expresso. Just plain it is deeply creamy with just that subtle underling of wonderful ricotta grittiness. This is best eaten soon after processing. But if you do refreeze, take out your ice cream to let it soften at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Avoid microwaving!