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Homemade Ricotta, caramelised whey, poached pear + pistachio

Ricotta Ingredients:

- 8 cups whole milk 2 liters

- 1/2 teaspoon salt

- 3 tablespoons  lemon juice or white vinegar freshly squeezed

 

Method:

1. Line a colander with a large piece of lightly dampened cheesecloth that has been folded over itself at least 3-4 times. Place the colander over a bowl. Make sure to use non-reactive materials. (Alternatively, you can use a recycled ricotta basket placed on a bowl).

2. In a large heavy based saucepan, over medium heat, heat the milk slowly. Add the salt and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Make sure the milk does not scorch.

3. Heat milk to 85c, It should take about 20 minutes to get to this stage. Lower the heat and add the lemon juice (or vinegar if using it for a savoury dish).

4. Slowly agitate the mixture for 2 minutes. You will notice the curds separating from the whey. Remove from heat. Cover pot and let stand for about 10 minutes.

5. Carefully pour your ricotta into the cheesecloth lined colander. The consistency of the final product will depend on the amount of time you leave the ricotta to drain. For a creamy ricotta, let it sit for 3-5 minutes; for a dryer ricotta, it can sit up to 20 minutes.

Use immediately. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Caramel whey ingredients

- 8 Cups Whey (what's leftover over from the ricotta making process)

- 2 cups Sugar

- 100 gram Butter

- 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract

- 1 small pinch of salt

Whey Method:

1. simmer the whey in a heavy bottom pot on medium until it reduces by about half. To save time, do this part at a higher temperature while keeping a close eye on it and stirring frequently so it doesn’t scorch.

2. After about 45 min to an hour your whey should be reduced by half, if you still have obvious milk curds in the whey you can strain it again before adding the sugar and butter. 

 

3. Stir in the sugar and bring it back to a simmer, caramelising it for another 20-30 minutes or until it coats the back of a spoon. Then add the cold butter and stir as it melts, continue to stir until the butter is completely mixed in.

4. Add salt and vanilla extract, mix thoroughly and set aside. 

Cardamom Poached Pear Ingredients

- 4 medium packham pears, peeled.

- 1 cup sugar, any type is fine

- 1 tablespoon ground cardamom

- zest of 1 orange

- 1/2 cup orange juice

- 1 tsp ground cinnamon

- ½ tsp ground turmeric

- Enough water to cover the pears in the saucepan

Method:

1. Place all ingredients into a heavy bottomed, medium sized saucepan, making sure the pears fit snug and the water comes up to where the stem line starts.

 

2. Bring to a simmer and gently cook until the pears start to take on the yellow from the turmeric and start to look a bit more translucent. Turn off the heat and let cool before handling.

3. Slice off the cheeks of the pear and bring a heavy bottomed frypan to the heat. Add a large tablespoon of butter to the pan and place pear cheeks face down to sizzle in the butter until caramelised. Set aside. 

To serve

- Toast slices of brioche or croissant and cut into small rectangles, spoon ricotta onto half the brioche and placed sliced caramelised pears on top of the ricotta. Pour caramel whey over the top and finish with toasted, crushed pistachios and orange zest.

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