Fresh Ricotta-Peach Spread

We just love all the fresh British Columbia fruit coming through our market doors this summer.  The summer peach in particular is a special darling – sweet, juicy, and bursting with flavor.  If your fruit bowl is brimming with peaches and you’ve been looking for an interesting new way to enjoy them, try this ricotta-peach spread. This spread will make a delicious appetizer paired with fresh baguette, a colourful addition to a cheeseboard, or a sweet dessert. The recipe comes to us from our friends at Short Stack Editions – a lovely line of one-ingredient cookbooks that we sell at our shop. This recipe is a “bonus” one in that it didn’t make it into the pages of the Peaches edition (not for lack of being delicious!). For more delicious recipes using this darling fruit, pop in to our shop and pick up the Peaches edition. Until then, give this snappy spread a try and let us know what you think. 

Ingredients:

For the ricotta

1½ cups whole milk

¾ cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the peaches

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided

8 ounces peaches (about 2 small)—peeled, pitted and cut into ¼-inch dice

Pinch of kosher salt

3 teaspoons honey

½ teaspoon fresh thyme, for serving

Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional

How to:

Make the ricotta

Place a fine-mesh sieve over a large, deep bowl. Line the sieve with a double layer of lightly moistened cheesecloth (leave some overhang on all sides). In a saucepan, stir together the milk, cream and salt. Bring to a full boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove the mixture from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and let stand for 1 to 2 minutes, until the milk mixture separates (the more solid bits are the curds, the liquid is the whey).

Slowly pour the mixture into the sieve, taking care to make sure it doesn’t overflow. Let stand at room temperature for 25 to 30 minutes, until the whey has drained off and you’re left with a thick, soft cheese. You may need to pour out the whey occasionally to keep it from touching the bottom of the sieve. (You can discard the whey or place it in a container, cover and refrigerate and use it in smoothies and sauces.) The longer you drain the ricotta, the firmer it will be. Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, scraping off as much from the cheesecloth as possible, and cover.

Make the peach mixture
 
Make the peaches: Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the peaches, salt and 2 teaspoons of honey and cook, stirring, until the peaches are beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup of water and let the mixture reduce until you’re left with about 1 tablespoon of syrupy liquid, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
 
You can cover and refrigerate the ricotta and peaches separately to serve cold, or serve them right away. To serve, place the ricotta in a serving bowl and top with the peaches and their liquid. Drizzle the remaining teaspoon of oil and honey over the top and sprinkle with thyme. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt flakes and black pepper, if desired. Serve with crackers or toasted baguette slices.