A simple ricotta is so easy to make at home, and is best when made with the freshest whole fat milk. In this recipe, I've used cow's milk, but goat or sheep's milk will work. In place of lemon, you can use vinegar; you just have to use something acidic to activate the curdling process. Save the extra whey for an additional boost of protein in smoothies, or even drink it on its own like they do in some European cultures. If you don't use the ricotta straight away, you can refrigerate it in an air-tight container for up to a week.
This homemade ricotta pairs really well with peak season berries. Here, I've macerated some cherries with a splash of rose water, cinnamon, and sugar. The deep, fresh flavor of the cherries paired with creamy ricotta is the perfect no-bake summer treat.
In a large saucepan, heat milk, stirring occasionally, until steaming but not boiling. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice, stirring constantly, a few drops at a time until curds begin to separate from whey. Use as much lemon juice as needed for this to happen. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Set a colander on top of a large bowl and cover with muslin. Slowly pour curdled milk over colander, allowing the whey to strain from the curds. For a slightly loose ricotta, let strain for 10 minutes. If you want a firmer cheese, continue straining up to 30 minutes more.
Meanwhile, in small saucepan, add cherries, sugar, cinnamon, rose water, lemon zest and salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil; simmer, slightly macerating cherries until they release the juices, but still hold their shape, 5-7 minutes.
To serve, scoop a generous spoonful of cherries into a small bowl. Top with a spoonful of ricotta. Serve immediately.