Sunday, November 14, 2010

Manchego, Ricotta and Doce de abóbora (pumpkin jam)

Yesterday I tried out a new cheese recipe. This time it is a cheese I have only heard of recently – Manchego, a cheese from Spain, from the region of La Mancha. It is traditionally made from sheep’s milk but cow’s milk will just have to do this time.  A few weeks ago I went to a cheesemaking workshop which demonstrated making this cheese and also had a tasting platter of the finished product. Even though it was only a month or two old, it had a lovely strong flavour. This means that the cheese I made yesterday might just be ready in time for Christmas. After the curd is cut, it is heated gently in the whey for about 45 minutes to 40⁰C, then drained, hooped and pressed for several hours. It then sits in a brine bath overnight to dry out a little. It now has to air dry for a week before I wax it.
Since I had to stay in the kitchen for a while, stirring the curds, I decided to put some jam on to cook. We still have several of last season’s pumpkins so I had the idea of making pumpkin jam. When we were in Portugal last year visiting the little town in the mountains where my son’s father in law Fernando was born, we tasted a very nice pumpkin jam (Doce de abóbora) which was traditional to have with a soft fresh cheese (requeijão) and bread.  So I also had to put the whey from the cheese to good use to make some fresh ricotta just in time to have for lunch.

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