April 26, 2012

Ricotta Cheesecake Cinnamon Rolls

I never knew what ricotta was until I met my husband. When I was growing up my mom substituted cottage cheese for anything that called for ricotta. Maybe she wouldn't have if she would have known just how amazingly simple it is to make. And it's fun to watch the transformation from liquid to curdles to a delicious and rich accompaniment to anything Italian or cinnamon rolls, of course!

I have only had ricotta cheesecake once before and remember it like it was yesterday. I have eaten many many desserts in my life and only remember a few that really stood out. Well, the ricotta cheesecake was one of them so I decided that ricotta cheesecake cinnamon rolls would be quite tasty. Turns out I was right!! And, it is a perfect excuse to basically eat dessert for breakfast!! Maybe you could eat a bowl of fruit alongside the roll so you don't feel so guilty! Ha!

There are four recipes to follow to complete this cinnamon roll.

Homemade Ricotta
4 c. whole milk
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 T. distilled white vinegar (some people use lemon but I prefer using vinegar)
1 t. salt

You will also need the following items to make ricotta:
-large bowl
-large fine sieve or colander

Layer two or three pieces of cheesecloth over colander and place the colander in the large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium sauce over medium high heat add milk, cream and salt. Bring to a boil stirring frequently to avoid scorching.

When mixture comes to a boil reduce heat to medium low, add vinegar and stir. Mixture will immediately curdle. Let simmer for about two minutes and strain over cheesecloth. Voila, you just made ricotta! I told you it was easy!

Let the ricotta cool. When you lift the colander up and out of the drain bowl you will see whey. DO NOT pour this down the drain, you will use it in the next step! Whey is great for any bread dough, just substitute it for water or milk.

Makes approximately 1 cup of ricotta and 2 1/2 cups whey.

Cinnamon Roll Dough
1 (1/4 oz) pkg active dry yeast
1/2 c. sugar
4-5 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
5 T. butter, melted
1 c. whey
3 eggs

In a large mixing bowl combine yeast, sugar, 3 cups flour and salt. Set aside.

In a microwave safe container melt butter and set aside. In another microwave safe container heat whey to 120-130 degrees F using a thermometer to check for accurate temp. Add melted butter to heated whey.


Mix with dry ingredients and stir in eggs. Add in remaining flour a little at a time until mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. You may need more or less flour. It is an approximate amount.

Dump dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead adding more flour if necessary. Knead 8-10 minutes. You can do a windowpane test (I learned this from one of Peter Reinhart's books - take small amount of dough and stretch it thin enough that you can see light through it without it tearing. If it tears, keep kneading until it doesn't) to make sure the gluten has released. Do not under-knead. Your dough won't be as soft or elastic.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rise 45 minutes.

**I have had this cinnamon roll dough recipe in my recipe box for quite a while and I have no idea where it came from. If you know, please let me know and I will credit that person. The rest of the recipes are mine.

While dough is resting make the filling.

Ricotta Cheesecake Filling
1 c. ricotta
6 oz cream cheese
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. oats
2 1/2 T. cinnamon

In a medium mixing bowl add all ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured large work surface. Roll dough to a 13x9 inch rectangle.

In an even layer spread out filling on top of dough leaving a 1 inch space at one of the ends.
Roll dough starting with one end and pinch the seam together well to seal.

Score and cut log into 12 equal pieces. Arrange in a buttered 9x13 baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

2 c. confectioner's sugar
1 T. vanilla extract
3 T. maple syrup
milk to thin

In a small mixing bowl combine all ingredients and stir until smooth. If making the night before (so you don't have any work in the morning) cover and set aside.

In the morning remove rolls from the refrigerator 30 minutes to an hour before baking. The rolls will have risen only slightly.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake approximately 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Drizzle glaze over warm cinnamon rolls. Eat and enjoy!

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