Ricotta and a Serendipitous Saturday

AriCooks, Tips and Tricks

Oh how I love food associations.

The first time I heard someone say the word Ricotta correctly without sounding like they were trying was in pastry school. Doreen, a former hairdresser from Lawrence, was one of my favorite classmates. She was the kind of woman whose tough upbringing had given her this sad-sweet effect, instead of being bitter and hard. She talked about her Italian grandfather and how he liked to eat sweetened ricotta with chocolate shavings after dinner. Her grandmother would dish it out for him as though it were ice cream and he would savor each bite, murmuring that Americans didn’t know what they were missing.

Last Saturday we had yet another delightful (and delicious) visit with my  high school friend Ilana and her family, after which I returned home with some hybrid citrus fruits from her tree. When I opened my computer there was a recipe sent to me by my sister-in-law, Amy, for goat ricotta made with Meyer lemons. And although the fruits from Ilana’s tree  are not quite sweet or thinned-skinned enough to be Meyers, and not sour or yellow enough to be regular lemons, they are a doing a fine job of curdling the goat milk on my counter as I write this.

Pashtida! Quiche-type deliciousness at the Samberg Shabbat lunch

Ilana and Ziv's French Hill Salad and some of crispiest, most tasty oven roasted potatoes to cross my lips in recent memory

Goat Ricotta, adapted from Food52

The fruits from Ilana and Ziv’s tree are called Chamshush חמשוש in Hebrew and are ever so slightly sweeter than a regular lemon with a touch of orange color on the inside. One of their neighbors pickled them and brought a jar over while we were having our visit, but pickled citrus is a taste I have yet to acquire…

1 liter (~ quart) goat milk

scant 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon (or חמשוש) juice

2 tsp grated Meyer lemon zest (optional)

salt to taste – I love the mild sweet state of unadulterated ricotta, so I left mine salt-free. 

Bring the goat milk to a near-boil. Take off the heat and use a thermometer to determine if your milk has reached 185°F (85°C). If not, put it back on the flame briefly (careful, it can boil over in an instant), if it has gone past 185°F just let it cool for a couple moments, then add the lemon juice. When the juice has been added the milk will separate into curds and whey.

Set a strainer over a bowl and line it with 4 layers of cheesecloth and pour the mixture into it and let it sit for 1/2 an hour.

Tie the corners of the cheesecloth around a wooden spoon and suspend it over the strainer/bowl and let it drain for another 2 hours.

Carefully unwrap the ricotta and transfer it to a container. Mix in zest and salt if using and refrigerate for up to a week.

Makes ~ 1 cup ricotta

4 thoughts on “Ricotta and a Serendipitous Saturday

  1. I’ve never made ricotta with goat’s milk and am quite intrigued by this. Also, I ended up Googling “pasthtida” because your photo was so alluring. The definition I came away with was Israeli frittata, but your photo shows something much more delicious-looking.

    1. Hi Molly,
      true, what Ilana made last weekend was more of a quiche with a puff pastry crust– instead of a regular pie crust. It had spinach,eggs, cheese and herbs (I can ask her for the recipe if you’re interested!). Real pashtida is crust-less and has eggs, and a combination of grated veggies and sometimes cheese– they were very popular during the time of austerity here because they were wonder-pot friendly (https://aricooks.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/סיר-פלא-the-wonder-pot/)
      We often use the word pashtida here now to refer to anything quiche/frittata-like 🙂

    1. Hi Faye,
      I am not sure. In the States, I have purchased regular lemons, sweet limes (which are actually yellow) and meyer lemons– which are just awesome. These were none of those, but definitely a hybrid. I imagine that the tree is simply a cross between a common lemon and the Israeli orange trees we have here. As a citrus lover I can always find uses for something lemony, whether it’s a bit on the sour side or the sweet!
      Best, Ari

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