Saturday, December 3, 2016

Baked Ricotta Cheese

Ok.  Here is the problem.  You can certainly make baked cheese with any ricotta, but not like the Sicilian or island variety.
You can make a semblance of this cheese recipe with the plastic tub cheese, by placing a coffee filter(they are available pretty big for commercial coffee makers) in a strainer in the sink or over a bowl.  Do not let it drain liquid so that the bottom of the strainer sits in the whey.
You can put it in the refrigerator over night or even a couple of days  to end up with a very firm "loaf" of cheese.
Where available use fresh ricotta, already firm ricotta or make your own.  You can certainly do this with the cheese recipe found in this blog, though it is not "Properly" Ricotta cheese.
Again. the cheese, if soft must be firmed into a Loaf.
Oil the cheese with olive oil, spread all over the cheese by hand, salt it lightly(if desired) and place the loaf on a raised lip cookie sheet or on a parchment sheet in the cookie sheet.
You may get sticking onto the sheet.  This can be solved by laying the loaf on a bed of rosemary sprigs or bay leaves.  Fresh would be best as the dry may be overpowering, as they are concentrated.
The cheese may be rubbed with oregano, basil or other herbs or coarse or sea salt flakes.
Bake in a 350 degree oven till golden to dark brown all over.
Yes you can serve it warm with fruit, roasted vegetables, slabs of bread or drizzled with honey, but it is more usual to cool it first.
Drizzle honey and/or chopped nuts on the cheese in the last 20 minutes in the oven.
You can grate it into recipes, salsas, pesto and pasta.

You can also put drained ricotta into puff pastry cases like brie.

Try using fruit preserves or chopped nuts and honey in the pastry wrap.

Consider trying this with chopped candied fruit peel and a little powdered sugar in the ricotta after it is drained.  Reform into the loaf after putting them in.  

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