Make Ahead

Curds & Whey Biscuits with Infused Honey & Ricotta Spread

March 17, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Makes 8 3-inch biscuits &
Author Notes

This recipe is a bit of a project – but it's easy and fun. The biscuits and spread make great week end breakfast fare. Served with a side of thick cut smoky bacon they are perfection. You will want to make your ricotta and infuse your honey the night before. The biscuits and spread come together quickly the next morning; you will serve them hot from the oven in 30 minutes or less. If you don't feel compelled to make homemade ricotta, you can make the spread to use on your favorite biscuits or toasted bagels – just make sure to use fresh whole milk ricotta that is good enough to eat with a spoon! (And you may need to add a little extra honey.) - hardlikearmour —hardlikearmour

Test Kitchen Notes

I love that this recipe gave me the opportunity to try my hand at making fresh cheese. The resulting ricotta really was so much better than anything I've had from the store that this part of the recipe itself is worth a rave. The biscuits were also delicious--light and flaky, but with a more complex flavor than you find it most biscuits. I think the addition of barley syrup might be the key to that complexity. Note: In making the Honey & Ricotta Spread, add the honey little by little till you get the consistency you're looking for. - Uenasway

What You'll Need
  • Homemade Ricotta and Infused Honey
  • FOR THE RICOTTA (adapted from Cook's Illustrated)
  • 2 lemons (enough for 1/3 cup juice)
  • 1/2 gallon whole milk (not ultra-high temp. pasteurized)
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 8-inch sprig Rosemary
  • 2 strips lemon peel (1/2-inch by 2-inch)
  • 1/4 cup mild honey (e.g. clover)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
  • Curds & Whey Biscuits and Infused Honey & Ricotta Spread
  • FOR THE BISCUITS (Adapted from the Baking Illustrated recipe Buttermilk Biscuits)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), refrigerator cold
  • reserved ricotta and whey mixture, refrigerator cold
  • 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 ounces all-purpose flour (1 cup)
  • 4 ounces cake flour (1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (non-aluminum containing if possible)
  • 3/8 teaspoon table salt
  • reserved ricotta
  • 1/8 teaspoon fleur de sel
  • infused honey
  1. Homemade Ricotta and Infused Honey
  2. FOR THE RICOTTA: Remove 2 ½ by 2” strips of peel with minimal white pith from one of the lemons, and set aside. (Feel free to zest the rest of the lemons to save the zest for another use.) Juice the lemons, and strain the juice to remove pulp.
  3. Heat the milk and salt in a stock pot over medium high heat to 185º F. This will take about 10 minutes, and the milk will start to steam as it approaches 185º. Scrape bottom of pot with spatula fairly frequently to prevent scorching. Once the milk is hot enough, remove from the heat. Stir in 3 T of the lemon juice and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. If the whey is still white, add another T of lemon juice and wait an additional 5 minutes. Repeat once more if needed. The whey will become translucent yellowish or bluish when it is ready. Let the curds and whey rest in the pot for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Line a strainer with 2 layers of cheesecloth, and set strainer over a bowl. Use a slotted spoon to gently scoop curds from whey into the strainer. Once curds have been transferred use rubber spatula to gently toss the curds until no visible pools of whey remain. Scoop out ¼-cup of the curds at this point and transfer them to a 2-cup glass measure. Fold cheesecloth over remaining curds in strainer, and gently squeeze to remove more whey (for this application it's best if they are a little drier than typical ricotta.) Transfer curds into container, tightly seal, and refrigerate. Pour ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon of whey from the bowl into the 2-cup glass measure containing the ¼-cup curds you'd previously set aside. Cover and refrigerate. (if desired save the rest of the whey you've created, there are some great food52 ideas for it's use!)
  5. FOR THE HONEY: Remove the leaves from rosemary, and lightly crush with the side of a knife to help release the flavor. Tear the lemon strips in half. Mix honey and water in microwave safe container (I used a coffee mug). Heat to boiling (about 30 seconds.) Stir in rosemary, lemon peel, and lavender. Tightly cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 8 hour or overnight.
  1. Curds & Whey Biscuits and Infused Honey & Ricotta Spread
  2. FOR BISCUITS: Heat oven to 450º F with rack in center of oven.
  3. Cut stick of butter into quarters length-wise, then into approximately 1/4” thick pieces. Return to fridge. Combine ricotta & whey mixture with barley malt syrup and sugar using a stick blender or small whisk (if you use the whisk some tiny pieces of ricotta will remain - this is fine, but the biscuits will be freckled when they come out of the oven.) Return to fridge.
  4. Combine flours, salt, and baking powder in bowl of food processor with blade attachment. Pulse 6 or 7 times to combine. Scatter cold butter over flour mixture. Pulse to combine (12 to 14 1-second pulses.) Pour whey mixture evenly over surface of dough. Pulse until clumping together, and very little dry flour remains (3 to 5 1-second pulses.) Dump dough onto lightly floured counter, and knead several times just until dough is cohesive. Form dough into a rectangle, then roll out to approximately ½-inch thickness. Try to make it so you can make 6 3-inch biscuits. Cut out biscuits. Briefly knead remaining dough, and shape so you can get 2 more biscuits. You should have very little if any dough remaining when you are done. (NB: alternately you can form the dough into a ½-inch thick round and cut it into 8 wedges.) Place biscuits on unlined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, just until lightly brown. Remove from oven and serve hot, split and slathered with the Honey-Ricotta spread.
  5. FOR HONEY & RICOTTA SPREAD: While biscuits are baking, wash bowl and blade from food processor. Shake out excess water. Place reserved ricotta and salt in bowl of food processor. Turn on food processor. Strain honey through mesh strainer into ricotta mixture while running, adding honey little by little till you get the consistency you're looking for. Scrape down sides of bowl, and process until smooth and creamy. Transfer to serving bowl. (Will keep for several days, just make sure it's tightly covered or it will pick up off flavors!)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • monkeymom
  • Sagegreen
  • mrslarkin
  • hardlikearmour
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

13 Reviews

sarah K. April 9, 2011
I tried it with molasses, and it turned out very interesting. They were definitely brown, and speckly, and I agree, molasses was a better choice than honey as a sub for the barley malt. It was reminiscent of gingerbread, but only slightly. I liked the texture of the biscuits. I was expecting them to be a little firmer, like scones, but they were light and soft. And the honey ricotta spread is brilliant. I made the ricotta from some organic, raw milk, and now I wish I had some more!
sarah K. April 9, 2011
Oh, and we had these for breakfast with orange oolong tea, which was a match made in heaven!
hardlikearmour April 9, 2011
Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed them. Now I'm craving the honey ricotta spread again.
Uenasway April 5, 2011
I tested this recipe, and just wanted to add that I used the leftover spread to make a really fantastic ricotta pound cake. So the recipe lives on!
hardlikearmour April 5, 2011
Hooray! I'm so glad you found a great way to use the leftovers. I just ate them with a spoon 'cause that's how I roll.
monkeymom March 20, 2011
I love this idea to use the whey. These look delicious.
hardlikearmour March 20, 2011
Other food52ers like Antonia James inspired me to use the whey! The spread is pretty addictive.
Sagegreen March 17, 2011
These look great!
hardlikearmour March 17, 2011
Thanks, Sagegreen! It took me a bit of tinkering to get the biscuits right, but I'm pleased with the final outcome.
Sagegreen March 20, 2011
OK, I have just started some ricotta with a different recipe, but am going to make your biscuits with the whey and spread recipe later in the week! Hope your drink recipe is coming along!
hardlikearmour March 20, 2011
Cool! I'm in love with the spread. Just made another batch with orange peel infused honey. I like the rosemary lavender one better, but if you're not a blossom lover the orange is quite good. The orange honey tastes like a lighter version of marmalade, and it perfumes the ricotta nicely.
mrslarkin March 17, 2011
Sounds fantastic!! This would make a great tea time treat! (or breakfast, or lunch, or anytime.) That ricotta spread - oh my!
hardlikearmour March 17, 2011
Thanks, mrslarkin! I confess I ate more than a few spoonfuls of the ricotta spread. I think I put the lavender in it so my husband wouldn't like it - mine, all mine!