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Kaffir lime home made “ricotta”

October 25, 2013

Unlike many other cheeses, whole milk “ricotta” is actually ridiculously easy to make at home, and you don’t need any strange equipment or ingredients. Which is saying something, because making cheese at home is usually something my lazy self puts into the “are you insane” category of recipes. I’ve seen posts dedicated to making cheddar cheese for example. They are very, very long. Not that I haven’t considered it. I even asked the teenager at the supermarket if they stock rennet once, and the look I got was enough to make all cheese making dreams shrivel back into the insanity cave.

kaffir ricotta-1

Ricotta is apparently meant to be made with recooked whey – and by golly are there some people who are strict by that definition – hence the inverted commas in the title, as attempt to ward of “technically speaking” types. To be honest though, even the whole milk version I made here is a little grainier and crumblier than I would have liked, and I don’t really know very many (ok, any) places that make ricotta with pure whey in Australia – feel free to suggest one if you do know though. I think I’ll try using a little cream next time as Deb from Smitten Kitchen suggests. Maybe to avoid any qualms about definitions I could call it mascotta, a mascarpone and ricotta mashup that also sounds like a cheese masquerading as ricotta.

kaffir ricotta-2

Anyway, the exciting bit is the kaffir lime leaf, which imparts the perfect refreshing note that makes a great pair with fruit. I only used one frozen leaf for 500ml milk, but I could taste it quite easily when I had a little clump of “ricotta” on its own. That said when you eat it on toast with blueberries and honey as I did, you can’t taste any overt zestiness at all, so if you want to, maybe use more leaves or score the leaves slightly to release more flavour. On a side note, it’s a great way to make “ricotta” if you have vinegar on hand but not lemon juice, without the end product being vinegary in flavour.

Kaffir lime “ricotta”

each 500ml milk makes about half a cup 

adapted from Smitten Kitchen:

  • 500ml whole milk (or use a combo of cream and milk for a creamier, spreadable version)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt (this makes for a not actually salty ricotta useful for sweet things, so up the salt if you want)
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf, bruised (score the leaf or use 2 leaves if you want it very limey)

Bring milk, salt, and leaf to a bare simmer in a saucepan (a thin layer of froth will develop), stirring with a spatula every minute or so. Remove from heat and add your acid of choice, stirring slightly. Let sit for a few minutes while you set up a clean tea towel (or doubled up cheesecloth if you have one) lining a sieve or colander. Sit the colander or sieve on top of a bowl to catch the whey.

Pour the curdled milk into the fabric lined sieve/colander, and let sit until drained to the consistency you like – I only waited about half an hour.

Serve with whatever you fancy :)

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PS. Much to my chagrin, you won’t be seeing many posts from me over the next 3 months featuring wholegrains, legumes or nuts (except for a few I’ve been hoarding). This is a pretty big deal for me since I was trying to eat more plant based proteins. However I found out I have a nickel allergy that may be the cause of some pretty nasty eczema, so am trying out a low nickel diet to see if that helps. Sadly that means basically no wholegrains, legumes, nuts, seeds etc, and barely any dark leafy greens, as these are all high in nickel. The hope is that I will be able to re-introduce some of these good foods later, but right now my system is probably a bit overwhelmed from all my previously healthy eating. Annoyingly this means either daily iron supplements (I hate supplements) or red meat once a week (I was committed to once a month for environmental reasons). If it wasn’t something my GP, dietician, and multiple peer reviewed medical journals all suggested, I would laugh off the notion of going without almonds or chocolate for anything more than a week. However I’d really like to resolve my perpetually itchiness and not have to bandage my fingers when the flare ups get bad, so I’m going ahead with it for now. On the other hand, dairy fiends – you can rejoice, because there’s probably going to be a lot of cheese featured. Not exactly eco-friendly either but if I have to take any more rules into account my head might fall off.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2013 10:34 am

    This looks AMAZING! I love the tutorial, and the idea of using something to impart another flavor into the cheese. I see some creatively flavored ricotta in my future- lemongrass, thai chili, etc.

  2. October 25, 2013 11:52 am

    Reblogged this on Curiosidades na internet.

  3. October 25, 2013 12:19 pm

    This is amazing! I’d eat a lot for the brekkie.

  4. October 25, 2013 3:37 pm

    That sucks about the nickel issue!! I cannot fathom how milk mixed with vinegar will ever get thick enough to make ricotta. Basically that’s buttermilk right? And that will seep straight through a cloth, surely! But I trust you, and gosh the ricotta with blueberries and honey on ciabatta looks amazing.

  5. October 25, 2013 9:07 pm

    Hope the nickel issue can be resolved! Meanwhile, I love the use of kaffir lime leaf here, I can imagine the lovely zesty gourmet touch it imparts!

  6. October 26, 2013 12:08 am

    Nice. I love to make ricotta. I have not used lime and will have to try this.

  7. October 26, 2013 8:05 am

    Amazing recipe! I didn’t know it’s possible to make ricotto yourself so easily! Must try! I love it and it’s so hard to find it here, they only have it at wholefoods and not at the conventional supermarket! thanks for sharing! ;-)

  8. October 26, 2013 3:52 pm

    Yes I remember that post and arguing with Smitten Kitchen for making a simil-mascarpone and calling it ricotta hahaha! And yes I am one of those who call an apple for an apple and an orange for an orange, but I can distinguish between ricotta and mascarpone, while the smitten kitchen cannot, sadly. Also being a food editor I am used to correct food writers’ mistakes, and the habit doesn’t leave me even when I am just relaxing reading blogs. The worry here is that the smitten kitchen is popular and the mistake quickly moved from blog to blog like a virus. Initially I tried to say something every time I saw ricotta made not with whey but with milk or even (horror) cream (just like a Kiwi/Aussie would probably correct me if I posted a meringue and called it pavlova) but in the end what can I do? The word ricotta seems to have a totally new meaning in the blogosphere outside Italy, especially in the USA, just like the word pizza.
    Good on you to put at least the inverted commas, but if I can give you another editorial tip it would be to remove the word ‘apparently’ before “meant to be made”: it is not apparently meant to be made with whey, by law in Italy it is made with whey. In the USA… who knows! :-)

  9. October 29, 2013 7:24 pm

    Cool cool cool! Great idea and beautiful flavour combination. I’ve always been scared of making cheese and yoghurt at home.

  10. October 31, 2013 9:20 pm

    Alessandra: Sadly I get the feeling that “ricotta” has mostly been bastardised outside Italy. I’d be curious to try ricotta made with whey, but don’t even know where I’d buy it! The “apparently” was more to express my own surprise!

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