Fresh Ricotta with Rhubarb Compote
This fresh ricotta recipe appears in an episode of Martha Stewart's Cooking School.
- 8 cups (1/2 gallon) best-quality whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups best-quality heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons), strained to remove pulp
- For the Rhubarb Compote, for serving:
- 10 ounces trimmed rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 3/4 cups)
- 2/3 cup sugar, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons water
- Combine milk, cream, and salt in a 4- to 5-quart pot, and warm mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching, until mixture registers 195 degrees on a candy thermometer. It should take about 15 minutes.
- Add lemon juice, gently stirring until just combined. Remove pot from heat and let stand 5 minutes. The combination of the acid and the residual heat in the mixture will cause it to coagulate, or curdle -- separating into a soft mass (curds) and a cloudy liquid (whey).
- After lining a mesh colander with 4 to 5 layers of cheesecloth and placing it inside a deeper, slightly larger bowl, gently pour curds and whey into colander. Let mixture stand, pouring off whey occasionally, until most of the whey has drained from still-wet curds, 20 minutes.
- Gather up ricotta in cheesecloth and turn it out into a bowl. Serve within a few hours, or refrigerate up to 4 days. For a denser ricotta, which can be preferable for baking, hang it to drain for another hour. Repurpose whey or discard it. Serve ricotta with Rhubarb Compote.
- For the Rhubarb Compote: Place the rhubarb, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and rhubarb is almost tender, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the rhubarb from the liquid, and transfer to a medium bowl; set aside.
- Raise heat to medium, and continue simmering liquid until thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer reduced liquid to a small bowl to cool. Add the cooled, thickened liquid to the reserved cooked rhubarb, and stir to combine.