homemade ricotta into homemade pizza (plus bonus beer cocktail!)

26 Jun

Oh my, what to do on a Saturday? How about homemade pizza? Like….really homemade?

This started out as a desire to make homemade ricotta cheese a la Deb from smitten kitchen. I’m an avid reader and now that Kathleen has weekends off (thank you, new corporate job!), we decided to tackle it in her kitchen in Queens.

I know, cheese making? Seems like a daunting task but Deb’s recipe was surprisingly easy.

Heat 3 cups whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, and ¼ teaspoon of coarse salt to 190°. Once that temperature is reached, turn off the heat and add 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Give it a stir and let sit for five minutes. Pour it into a cheesecloth lined colander over a bowl and sit for about an hour to let the whey separate from the curds.

I know, I know…a whole hour? And after it’s strained, we have to wait another 1-2 hours before it’s chilled enough to eat? What are we going to do in the meantime?

Um…drink?

We recently had the pleasure of visiting the Dogfish Head Brewpub in Rehobeth Beach, Delaware and had a wonderful beer cocktail with brunch that we decided to replicate.

Fuzzy Pêche

Makes 1 cocktail

½ shot of peach schnapps
¼ cup of fresh squeezed orange juice
1 bottle of Dogfish Head Festina Pêche

Pour all ingredients in a tall glass and give a stir. You can garnish with a slice of orange or a cherry if you’re feeling fancy. Drink and smile.

While our ricotta cheese was still chilling, we realized we had another dilemma. We now had a bowl of whey. What is whey, you ask, aside from what Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet to eat with curds? It’s basically a cheese byproduct, but it’s full of vitamins and protein and it’s the stuff they make whey protein out of (like protein shakes). You can toss it, or you can try to figure out what else to do with it. It can be used to enrich breads or soups (you can use it in replace of part of water or other liquids in recipes) and also can be used in place of buttermilk.

What better way to deal with the whey then to make pizza dough with it to go with our freshly made ricotta cheese?

Pizza Dough (made with whey)
(from Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making)
Makes 1 pizza crust

3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 package instant yeast
1 cup warm whey
2 tbsp olive oil

Mix 2 cups of the flour, salt, and yeast in a bowl. Add the whey and olive oil and mix to combine. Need in the last cup or so of flour into the dough. Place in an oiled bowl and cover. Let rise for at least 15 minutes.

We heated the oven to 375. I shaped the dough into a crust form and Kathleen whipped up a quick pesto (about a half cup of fresh basil leaves, a few tablespoons of pine nuts, and maybe a quarter cup of olive oil blended in a food processor). Spread the pesto on the crust, top with slices of San Marzano tomatoes (we used the canned kind and they were yummy), globs of our fresh ricotta, chiffonaded proscutto, and a few basil leaves.

Bake for about 27-30 minutes and then enjoy!