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Farmer's Cheese Dumplings

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Ingredients:

At Tartine, the dumplings are made with a naturally acidified farmer's cheese called Turó. You can make the cheese (see below) or substitute dry Real California ricotta: Dumplings: – 3 pounds’ farmer's or Real California ricotta cheese, preferably homemade (see below) – 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste – 3 large eggs – 1 1/2 cup pastry flour (all-purpose can be substituted, but the dumplings will not be as tender) – Olive oil – Real California unsalted butter – For the dumplings you will need to triple this recipe. Homemade Farmer's Cheese: – For the dumplings you will need to triple this recipe. – Makes about 1 pound (2 generous cups) – 7 cups Real California whole milk – 1 cup Real California heavy cream – 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt – 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

Dumplings:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Season the cheese with salt, adding additional to taste. Mix in one egg at a time until thoroughly combined. Fold in the flour, being careful not to overwork the dough.

Oil sheet pans.

Keeping the water at a gentle boil, test the dough by dropping a pinch of it into the water. Let it float to the top and then bob for a couple of minutes to cook through. Taste the dumpling for seasoning and texture. If it is too tender add a few more tablespoons of flour and test again, until the desired texture. (The less flour the more tender the dumplings will be, however, every batch of cheese will have a different moisture content.)

Working in batches, with two spoons or with a pastry bag, form dumplings that are about 2-inches long (about 2 teaspoons each) and drop them into the water. Cook as before and then hold on the oiled sheet pans. Refrigerate until cold. They are best the day they are made, but can be kept overnight if needed.

When ready to serve, melt butter in a pan, preferably non-stick, over medium heat. Add the dumplings and brown; once they have released from the bottom of the pan, flip and brown on the other side.

Serving Suggestion: At Bar Tartine they make the farmer's cheese and the resulting whey is reserved (or a light chicken stock can be substituted). Onions, fennel, and parsnip are sautéed until just translucent and 4 cups of the whey is added to the vegetables. The mixture is then simmered until the vegetables are tender, strained, blended in a blender with 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) of unsalted butter and 1/2 cup of sour cream, and strained to make a sauce.

Serve the dumplings with the sauce and sautéed chard in the winter, or other seasonal vegetables throughout the year.

Homemade Farmer's Cheese:

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place over a large bowl (to catch the whey).

Combine all of the ingredients in a large nonreactive saucepan, and attach a candy/deep-fry thermometer to the side. Slowly, over medium-low heat, bring the milk to 170°F/76.6°C, stirring with a heatproof spoon or spatula occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Turn the heat up to medium and stir continuously until it reaches 190°F/87.7°C. You will see the curds begin to separate from the weigh. Stir them very gently to avoid breaking them into small pieces.

Lift the curds from the whey and put into the colander. Strain the whey through a fine-mesh strainer adding any remaining curds to the colander. Reserve the whey. Let the curds strain for at least an hour. At an hour, you'll have a tender, spreadable farmer's cheese. After two hours, it will be spreadable but a bit firmer, similar to cream cheese. It will continue to firm as it cools.

Carefully remove from the cheesecloth. The cheese can be used at this point or refrigerated overnight. Reserve the whey, if desired, for a sauce (see Serving Suggestion, above).

Recipe developed by Bar Tartine, San Francisco, CA

Per Order:

Makes about one hundred 2-inch-dumplings

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