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Recipe

Fresh ricotta with wine caramel grapes

Soft Italian cheeses (ricotta, mascarpone, mozzarella) are simply irresistible to cook Nici Wickes! It’s fun to dabble in making them at home and while most require a certain degree of skill or equipment, ricotta is a cinch, she says

By Nici Wickes
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 1 hr cooking
  • Makes 1
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Ingredients

Fresh ricotta with wine caramel grapes
  • 3 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 3 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
WINE CARAMEL GRAPES
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • splash of water
  • 1/4 cup wine (any is fine)
  • 2 cup grapes

Method

Fresh ricotta with wine caramel grapes
  • 1
    Pour the milk, cream and salt into a clean (I mean spotless!) saucepan. Heat to almost boiling stage. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice. Stir once or twice, gently and slowly. Let the pot sit for 5-10 minutes while the curds coagulate and split away from the whey.
  • 2
    Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the whey). Pour the curds and whey into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour. At an hour, you’ll have a creamy, spreadable ricotta. At two hours, it will be spreadable but slightly firmer, almost like cream cheese. It will continue to firm as it cools.
  • 3
    Store in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll last for 7-10 days.
  • 4
    Spread ricotta on toasted ciabatta, top with wine caramel grapes, add some honeycomb if you have some, and eat!
WINE CARAMEL GRAPES
  • 5
    Combine the sugar and a decent splash of water in a pan, then heat until the sugar dissolves. Let it bubble without stirring until it turns golden – about 5-7 minutes – and begins to thicken.
  • 6
    Take off the heat and add the wine – be careful as it will spit – and stir. Cool for 5 minutes, then add the grapes to the pan and toss to coat.

Notes

As ricotta is traditionally made using leftover whey, from making other cheeses such as mozzarella, rather than discarding the whey, I like to re-use it. Reheat it slightly, add more lemon juice and leave to sit for 5 minutes and often you’ll get more curd forming. If you stir sugar syrup while making caramel, you risk the sugar crystallising. Swirl, don’t stir.

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