This Peach, Prosciutto & Fresh Ricotta Crostini was such a sweet surprise. The combination of peaches and prosciutto is always a winner, but the homemade fresh ricotta, spread onto my grilled baguette slices, was the real star of this appetizer.
A couple of weeks ago I purchased fresh ricotta for the first time ever. It was baked and served with peas from my garden (recipe HERE). A comment by a reader suggested that I try making my own ricotta. I make my own Crème Fraîche, which is easy and a huge cost saver, and decided this was the time to make the ricotta as well, for the same reasons. I was blown away by the flavor! My homemade ricotta was so superior to the expensive fresh ricotta I purchased previously -- I just wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was. In fact, it had such a creamy texture and sweet taste, my husband said this crostini could pass as dessert.
Taking the time to make the ricotta, in addition to using fresh, flavorful peaches and an excellent bread for a base makes all the difference. I bake my own baguettes weekly using a heritage flour from Sunrise Flour Mill in North Branch, Minnesota. This organic flour has taken my breads to another level and it's all I use now in my baking. But don't feel like you need to make the bread for this appetizer. The recipe suggests a ciabatta -- purchase a good, flavorful, hand-crafted bread.
HOMEMADE FRESH RICOTTA
• recipe from Ina Garten, adapted
• 4 cups whole milk (preferably organic)
• 2 cups heavy cream (preferably organic)
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 3 tablespoons good quality white wine vinegar
1. Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with cold water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.
2. Combine the milk and cream in a deep stainless steel or enameled pot (when at a boil, the milk and cream can overflow if the pot isn't deep enough). Stir in the salt. Bring liquids to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow mixture to set for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
3. Slowly pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that accumulates in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta will be ( I went for the longer drain time). Transfer the ricotta to a bowl or plate and discard the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. (I flipped my ricotta onto a large plate and peeled off the cheesecloth). Use immediately or cover with plastic and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep, refrigerated, for 4 to 5 days.
PEACH, PROSCIUTTO & FRESH RICOTTA CROSTINI
• recipe Bon Appetit | June 2011, adapted
• 12 slices good quality baguette, sliced at an angle to provide length, or ciabetta bread
• Extra-Virgin olive oil for brushing
• 1 ripe peach
• Fresh ricotta
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 6 thin slices of prosciutto or speck
• Honey for drizzling
• Fresh thyme leaves for sprinkling
1. Lightly brush the bread slices with olive oil. Grill until lightly toasted.
2. Thinly slice the peach. Instead of halving and pitting the peach, I will hold the peach and make slices down to the stone. They should drop out nicely.
3. Spread about 1 tablespoon (or more!) of the fresh ricotta onto each toast. Cut prosciutto slices into lengthwise halves and drape over ricotta on each slice of bread. Drizzle with honey and top with 2 peach slices. Scatter some fresh thyme leaves over the top.
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