Monday, May 7, 2012

Homemade Ricotta Cheese & Ricotta Pie

Made This

Have you ever thought about making homemade ricotta cheese? I'm sure with everything that goes on in your day, homemade cheese is not on the top of the to do list. I felt the same way until I had a slice of homemade ricotta cheesecake made with homemade ricotta cheese. I knew right after the first bite that I was going to be making a batch of ricotta cheese that week. After finding out how easy the recipe was, it was now a top priority. When a ricotta pie was requested, I just knew it was meant to be! I had all ingredients on hand and within a half hour I had delicious ricotta cheese. That's it 30 minutes to cheese. Glorious Cheese! The only draw back is that the cheese needs to sit overnight in the refrigerator. When I have a recipe that needs ricotta cheese I will be taking the time to make my own. However, I  amazed  myself when I went searching in my never ending collection of cookbooks and could not find a single ricotta pie recipe. Not one. Only for ricotta cheesecake and the request was for a pie. I was more than happy to search the Internet and came across another blog that I like called www.the parsleythiefcooks.com, and guess what? There it was "Easter Ricotta Pie." I followed her recipe and it was absolutely amazingly scrumptious. This pie was so easy to throw together. Of course it had to be, since it was adapted from her grandmothers recipe. When the recipient of this pie had a bite, the response was "the best ricotta pie ever!" Two things that I love about cooking and baking is how you can take simple ingredients, or when you open  your refrigerator/pantry doors and you start transforming them into a meal that comforts your family. The second is seeing the complete pleasure and happiness in those that I feed whether it be my family, friends or strangers.

Is it not wonderful how things in creation are transformed, the Caterpillar that changes to a butterfly, Chameleons that change their color for protection, leaves on the trees that transform from lush greens to vibrant autumn colors that grace many mountains in the Northeast, tadpoles that become frogs, and we too can be transformed, 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. For the believer, becoming Christ like is an ongoing transformation. Each and every day is a choice we make to do as Christ would have us. Renewing our mind with scripture and spending time in prayer is a great place to start. Letting Christ be our example in our day to day routine such as in our speech, actions, where we go, how we spend our time. I hope that today finds us being transformed in being more like Christ. 

Homemade Ricotta Cheese-

2 quarts whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 Tablespoons lemon juice

Line a large fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl.
Slowly bring milk, cream and salt to a rolling boil in 6 quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add lemon juice, reduce heat to low and simmer stirring constantly until curdled. May take about 10 minutes or so. Once mixture starts curdling well, pour into lined sieve and let drain for 1 hour. Chill covered in refrigerator. Will keep up to 2 days in refrigerator.

Homemade Ricotta Pie-
adapted from www.theparsleythiefcooks

Ingredients for crust-
3 cups flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
2 sticks unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 orange
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
plus one additional egg for brushing the top of the pie

Whisk together the flour, baking powder & salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside. Cream the butter & sugar until light & fluffy about 4 minutes. Add the orange zest and beat for another minute. Add the egg yolks, then the whole eggs, beating after each addition & scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With mixer on low slowly add the dry ingredients & beat until just combined. Dump the dough out onto a well floured work surface and shape into a ball. Divide into 2 balls one slightly larger than the other. Shape into disk, wrap in plastic & chill for 1 hour.

Ingredients for filling-
1 pound ricotta cheese (part skim or whole)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

If using store bought ricotta cheese, place ricotta in a colander and set over a bowl, cover w/plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator to drain overnight.

Transfer the drained ricotta to a mixing bowl. Add the sugar & cinnamon stir until combined. In a separate mixing bowl beat eggs lightly. Add them to the ricotta mixture and stir. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take the larger of the two doughs and roll out about 1/8" thick round. Carefully fit it to a 9" deep dish pie plate. Pour in the filling. Roll the second disc of dough out and cut into strips. Arrange the strips over the top in a lattice pattern. Crimp & seal edges. Brush crust with the beaten egg. Bake for about 1 hour until the crust is golden brown. Remove and cool on rack completely. Store in refrigerator. Serve slightly chilled by taking out of refrigerator about a 1/2 hour before serving.

Eat Well, Sonya