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Reasons to Believe: All things Creme Fraiche, Mascarpone and Ricotta

by on February 21, 2012

Domestic goddess that I am. I’m in red raffia heels. OK….wedges. I feel like Nigella. Creme Fraiche on the go, 2 fruit cakes in the making (last Christmas’s success), this time the recipe is adjusted to include some Maltina and pureed lemon sugar. Its the creme fraiche that I’d like to start off with. Thankfully, my feet are not hurting…..and I admit, it is time to drop the charade and take off the shoes.

I am confused as to exactly what chemical reaction has gone on with my ultra-pasteurised whipped cream and reconstituted buttermilk.


Something has definitely happened. The mixture is thick, thicker than the double cream consistency yesterday. It looks dollopable…… and at the bottom of  my glass some liquid has collected – whey to the initiated.

But the results are rather unpleasant – the creme fraiche smells sour. Looks weird and tastes….ok. Nothing close to the French or even remotely like forebearer. Considering I used ultra-pasteurised cream and sweet buttermilk powder when the recipe called for fresh, fresh, fresh, disaster was almost guaranteed – I hear you!

But one swallow doesn’t make a summer. Losing one battle doesn’t  mean you’ve lost the war. Doesn’t stop you from winning the war.


That was just one test. And when I employed the dodgy creme fraiche in a sweet ‘quesadilla’ by Sasha of Global Table Adventure (the recipe is from El Salvador), it proved not bad at all. The quesadillas were to die for, perfect gluten-free treats, rich and buttery and perfumed with lemon zest. I enjoyed them best on the day, and continued eating them over three!


The best part – the crunch around the edges and the beautifully browned ‘bottoms’.


So what if the batter overflowed….a good reminder for next time though we did eat every nugget/foot of ‘cake’!

My mascarpone turned out much better  and was very close to the Italian mascarpone – thick, creamy  with an almost sweet fragrance. I enjoyed it, with strawberries most especially! And will definitely make it again.


Don't you like the food caps? They look like shower caps but are not!

But the absolute winner was the version of ‘ricotta’ I concocted. Adapted from a recipe by Jennifer Perillo on food52 that had only fresh ingredients on its list, sans lemon juice. Actually, I can’t make so bold to say ‘Ricotta’, which means ‘recooked’ because I didn’t actually ‘recook’ any mixture. Lets just describe it as making cheese curds!

Ricotta is Italian for “recooked” because it is made by “cooking” whey which is produced when the curds are separated for cheese

The end result not only looked good, it tasted the part too.  And all with a mixture of 4 cups of fresh pasteurised whole milk, 1 cup of powdered full cream milk and 1 cup of powdered buttermilk, (available at Wholefoods). Did I forget to say ‘and the juice of 3 lemons’? When the curds formed, I scooped them out into a cheesecloth lined sieve and waited for the whey to drain out! It was perfect – sweet, creamy and fully formed curds!


With the ricotta I had, I enjoyed some strawberries in a pink cloud,


Made with love, and eaten with the same!


And a most delicious cake simply called Louisa’s cake. A very proud Italian. And I too am proud….of her! So good was it, that when I offered to make a cake for my boss who was leaving, he requested it, haven tried it the week before!


So  why am I thankful? For three reasons:

  1. The fact that you think it can’t be done, doesn’t mean it can’t be done – I must keep my courage and continue to try. To this end, I will try to make another batch of creme fraiche, with said cream but ‘real’ buttermilk which I hope to concoct myself. We shall see.
  2. Ultra-pasteurised milk and cream can work for soft cheeses – both mascarpone and ricotta ruled.
  3. Never give up. Not now, not ever. Why should you? Hope is around the corner, standing on your doorstep, banging on your door. Never give up. I say NEVER!

What reasons do you have to believe today?[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Reasons to Believe: All things Creme Fraiche, Mascarpone and Ricotta – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]