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Sweet Ricotta, Strawberry Preserves & Toasted Brioche

By Chef Christopher Collins, Common Ground Culinary

Ingredients

  • Homemade ricotta
    • 1 qt. whole milk
    • 1 qt. heavy whipping cream
    • 6 Tbsp. white vinegar
    • Cheesecloth (If you don’t have any, try a coffee filter or linen dish towel. Even a paper towel can work.)
  • Sweetness for ricotta
    • 14-16 oz. handmade ricotta
    • 6 oz. powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Strawberry preserves
    • 1 lemon, juiced and strained
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
    • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1 lb. medium strawberries, hulled
  • Toasted brioche
    • Thick-sliced brioche loaf
    • Room-temperature soft unsalted butter

Instructions

Homemade ricotta

In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, slowly bring whole milk and heavy cream to just below boiling point, approximately 200 degrees. (Use a kitchen thermometer.)

Add vinegar and salt; immediately turn heat to low for 2 minutes.

Move completely off of the stove and allow to cool at room temperature for 20 minutes.

During the cool-down period, you will start the process of separating the whey (liquid) from the ricotta curd. Line a large strainer with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Ladle curds into the cheesecloth. Place the bowl with the strainer in the refrigerator. Allow the whey to drain away from the ricotta completely for about 12 hours.

Once all of the whey has drained from the ricotta you have successfully made your own handmade ricotta! Keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

Sweetness for ricotta

Using a rubber spatula, fold all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until incorporated.

Strawberry preserves

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine lemon juice, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Cook untouched until most of the sugar is melted, about 10 minutes. Gently stir, until sugar is completely dissolved. Using a slightly damp pastry brush, wash down any sugar crystals from the side of the pan to prevent sugars from burning.

Add maple syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, and strawberries. Raise heat to medium-high and gently boil while lightly mashing the strawberries. Continue to boil until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Let cool at room temperature for approximately 10 minutes, and then place strawberry preserves in the refrigerator and allow to set for 12 hours. Keep in the refrigerator until you are ready.

Toasted brioche

Generously coat both sides of sliced brioche with butter. Toast on a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Hold at room temperature until you are ready to use.

Putting it together

In a small bowl place, 3-4 ounces of sweet ricotta at the center-left of the plate. Place 1-2 ounces of strawberry preserves at the center-right of the plate.

Cut toasted brioche on a bias and shingle in the center of the bowl at 12 o’clock.

Garnish options: Mint sprig, pinch of Allspice, or drizzle of maple syrup

Common Ground Culinary