Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ricotta Ice Cream

One day, Mai & Paul visisted Di Palo's and found out that you can buy three pounds of ricotta for $12. Not the gross, tasteless kind of ricotta at Gristede's, but REAL ricotta.

Naturally, we decided to host a Ricotta Fest dinner party. By the time we got our schedules organized, it was already June. June means ICE CREAM! Okay, that's a lie. Every month means ICE CREAM, but now that it is just starting to be summer in NYC, we needed reason to celebrate.

In addition to the ice cream, we made several other dishes. Mai and Paul made meatballs with ricotta, ravioli,  crostini, and chicken marsala. Gretchen made pasta with carbonara and a delicious ricotta cheesecake with a strawberry rhubarb topping.

At Di Palo's, we picked up three of these canisters.

Back at home, we opened up our canisters. As you can see below, the ricotta was in a metal-ish canister. We tried to think of eco-friendly uses for them. I suggested that they would be great for milkshakes. Until I realized that there were holes at the bottom and along the sides. 

I also picked up some prosciuotto for us to nibble on while we were prepping.

Mai & Paul had picked up some artisinal honey at a farmer's market. We decided to whip out some cheese & crackers and top with honey. The cheese (pictured below) looks like blue cheese, but it isn't. We don't know the name of this mystery cheese, but you can find it at Fairways. This was quite possibly the best snack idea ever! I've never had honey in this form before, usually mine comes from a squeeze bottle. The honeycomb is on the bottom and you have to scrape the honey off the top. 

We devoured two boxes of crackers and the entire wedge of cheese. What? We got hungry cooking in the hot kitchen...

Mai made some homemade pasta to accompany her ricotta meatballs...

As if we did not purchase enough ricotta cheese, we purchased a pound of parmesan cheese as well. Most of it is in the photo below.

{The finished meatball product}

{Mai prepping the ricotta ravioli} 

{Delicious crostini}

{Chicken Marsala}

{Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with ricotta}

{One of our guests, Nam, made a wonderful green papaya salad}

{Ricotta cheesecake!}

Both of the ricotta ice creams were easy to whip up (strawberry basil to follow this in another post). 

I've never made ice cream with a ricotta base, and this was the perfect time to experiment. I searched far and wide for a recipe and finally picked the one below.

Don't be afraid of this recipe - there is no custard base - so you don't have to worry about scrambled eggs instead of a perfectly fluffy, creamy ice cream. As in, this may be my all time favorite. Huge disclaimer: Apparently, this ice cream loses texture after an overnight freeze. You should probably finish the whole thing the night you make it (and that really shouldn't be that hard). I'm not sure why the texture goes from creamy to chalky, maybe because I didn't strain the ricotta.

Also note: as the weather gets hotter, don't try to churn ice cream in a sauna-ish temperature room. Your precious ice cream mixture will not freeze properly in the canister, and will be milkshake like afterwards. This is what happened to poor little strawberry basil. 

Basically all I did was blend all the ingredients together in Mai & Paul's vitamix!

Below is the only photo I got of the ice cream.  I was so busy eating and mingling!

Ricotta Ice Cream, recipe adapted from food52

Makes 1 Quart

  • 1 2/3 cup quality ricotta 
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Pistachios (optional)
Blend everything until the salt in a blender until smooth. Then add the heavy cream and blend until just combined. 

Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker - I let mine run for about 40 minutes. I also tried really, really hard not to lick the bowl. During the last 5 minutes of the churning process, you can add your mix in's if you desire (i.e.pistachios, etc). 

Transfer your ice cream to an air tight container and let it harden ("bloom" ?) in the freezer for a few hours. I made mine in the afternoon - around 3pm - and served it around 8:30pm - and it was perfection! You could grill up some peaches, drizzle them with honey, and serve with the ice cream as well. Peaches aren't quite in season yet, or else I would have done that as well. 

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