5 Ingredients or Fewer

Irish Farmhouse Ricotta

March 11, 2016
3 Ratings
Photo by Imen McDonnell
  • Makes 1 generous cup (225 grams)
Author Notes

This is not your traditional Italian ricotta cheese. Ricotta is Italian for "twice-cooked" or "to cook again" and is usually made from the whey you get from making another cheese, such as mozzarella or a hard cheese. For proper ricotta, whey is heated, with or without additional vinegar, and the new cheese is strained. Whole milk is never used.

This recipe is a variation on my basic farmer cheese, with added cream for a smoother, creamier consistency that works well for filling pasta shells or topping pancakes. Use really fresh milk for the best flavor and longevity.

From The Farmette Cookbook, © 2016 by Imen McDonnell. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boulder, CO. www.roostbooks.com. —Imen McDonnell

What You'll Need
  • 3 cups (750 milliliters) whole milk
  • 1 cup (250 milliliters) heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  1. Pour the milk, cream, and salt into a 3-quart stainless steel saucepan, and heat the milk to 190° F (88° C), stirring occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, slowly stirring once or twice. Let the pot sit for 5 minutes. The milk will separate and form curds and whey.
  2. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl. Pour the curds and whey into the sieve, and let strain for at least 1 hour.
  3. Eat right away or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. (Fresh ricotta will keep in the fridge for one week.)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Shelley Matheis
    Shelley Matheis
  • tersher

2 Reviews

Shelley M. March 11, 2016
The whey would be the buttermilk?
tersher March 13, 2016
You would get buttermilk from a "no heat" process that transforms heavy cream (through the addition of yogurt or cultures) into a really, thick liquid, or creme fraiche, and then from beating or agitation (back in the day, it would be churned), would damage the fat globules contained within, leaking their fat that could then be collected in a mass and strained for butter. In this recipe, your heating the milk slightly and then with the addition of acid, here the lemon juice, you are forcing the caseins to separate from the whey through curdling and form a bond to turn solid, or into a curd and then you can gather that up and make delicious cheese. :) Check out Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking for a complete breakdown of this amazing process!