A Delightfully Easy Recipe to Make Your Own Cream Cheese

Cream Cheeses have to be one of the most versatile and delectable of all the homemade cheeses! It can be eaten alone, spread on toast, crackers or bread, or seasoned either with your garden fresh savory or sweet herbs and spices. In addition to all this, it stands head above all others when combined with fruits, making wonderfully decadent cheesecakes! When combined with sugars and/or fruit juices, it yields flavorful icings, (delicately combined with lemon or lavender, it is especially decadent spread on your homemade lavender cookies!): with chocolate for fondues or to dip sweet plump and juicy strawberries into; the list goes on and on to the limits of your culinary imagination.

It is no wonder that cream cheese is so popular with both young and old alike! Following is a simple recipe for making your own homemade cream cheese. This homemade cream cheese can be used as you would use any store bought cream cheese: by itself or in recipes. (A delightfully fresh recipe for Geranium and Lemon Cream Cheese, and a savory Sage Cream Cheese recipe are found in betweenclosefriends.com blog under the ‘Recipe’ Category as well as other ‘how-to’ instructions and recipes for a variety of cheeses.)

Alternatively, you may wish to flavour this homemade delicate cream cheese with a chocolate, raspberry, or other fruit syrup for a dessert. Or, keep it in reserve in your fridge blended together with your choice of herbs and/or edible blossoms for a ready-made herbal cream cheese, just waiting for impressive impromptu use on crackers, crudités, or open face sandwiches to the delight of your unexpected company.

How to make a plain Homemade Cream Cheese:

1. Start by slowly warming 4½ cups of heavy cream to 98 degrees F, stirring frequently on the stove in a medium saucepan.

2. Once this temperature is obtain on a thermometer, remove the heated cream from the heat. Stir in 2 tsp of rennet.

3. Leave the heated cream to rest for 1 to 2 hours, until it has separated into curd and a milky liquid (whey).

4. Tip the resulting curd into a clean piece of muslin or cheesecloth-lined colander, allowing it to drain overnight. (The whey that drains from the curd makes a refreshing drink, or it can be used for a face wash for very sensitive skin. My mother, who has very youthful looking skin, swears by the use of whey as her facial wash.)

5. If your drained curd is still too moist, leave it in the colander to drain for an additional hour, lightly weighting it with a plate placed on top.

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