Updated: Jul 5, 2021
When you have a win...
I have had a bum run with baking recently and it was starting to really get to me. Over the years, I’ve made lots mistakes in the kitchen. One time and very comically, I even forgot to add the flour in a batch of cookies many Christmases ago. It was a mess, but, in true form, I always try to learn from those mistakes and keep forging on because when you have a win, it makes it all worth it.
This creation was one of those stories and with no exception. I created a base and filled my pan a little too high. My first attempt bubbled over, straight out of the pan and all along the base of the oven. It was a disappoint to say the least and looked awful but what it had was potential because even though it looked bad, it tasted divine! Buttery rich, not too sweet and brimming of almond flavors, like the center of a warm almond croissant... I went back, reviewed my mistakes and rewrote the recipe from top to bottom. Finally on a rainy Tuesday evening with a handful of perfect apricots (it’s their season) I attempted again and won! and extra dessert for everyone, so I guess everyone wins too...
This recipe is pretty simple but does require a little forward planning with the ricotta you use. Also it is perfectibility adoptable to other stone fruit, cherries and berries. What ever inspires you at the market and what ever seems good for the season, just go for it!
Ricotta Almond Tart with Summer Fruit
Tart Crust Ingredients:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour ¼ cup almond flour ½ tsp salt 1/3 cup granulated sugar ½ cup (1 stick butter), cold and cubed 1 large egg, beaten
5 tbsp butter, softened ¾ cup granulated sugar ¼ tsp salt 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk 1 cup whole milk ricotta, drained or dry* (see note) 2 tbsp honey ½ tsp vanilla extract ¼ tsp almond extract Zest of 1 lemon plus 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice 1 cup almond flour 4 ripe apricots, halved and pitted (can be substituted with pitted cherries or fresh berries) 1 to 2 tbsp granulated sugar for sanding Powder sugar for dusting (optional)
Begin by making the crust. In a medium mixing bowl, add flour almond flour, salt and sugar and mix. Add cold cubed butter and mix with your hands, breaking down the butter pieces to small granules. Mixture should be sandy. Continue to work the dough by pressing and folding the butter into the flour mixture. Add beaten egg and work through, continuing to fold and work together until dough sticks to itself and not to your hands or side of the bowl. If the dough is dry and cracks, add a small amount of water, 1 tablespoon at a time until dough is smooth and pliable but not sticky. Transfer dough to a clean, floured surface and roll into a circle 1/8 inch thick. Carefully transfer pastry round to the center of a tart ring that is 10’ inches round. Press into place and up the sides and trim the edges to create a clean edge. With a fork, prick the center of the dough multiple times to allow venting while backing. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to baking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Unwrap pastry tart and place in the oven on the center rack. Par bake crust for 15 minutes.
While pastry is baking, assemble the filling. In a clean mixing bowl add soft butter, sugar and salt and blend until smooth. Add egg and egg yolk and blend for two minutes or until mixture is pale and fluffy. Add ricotta (see note), honey, vanilla and almond extracts, lemon zest and juice and blend until incorporated. Add almond flour and blend through. Mixture should be thick and smooth. Set aside until tart shell is par baked. Halve your apricots and remove pits or prepare any fruit you are using.
Once tart crust is finish baking remove from oven and fill with prepared ricotta-almond filling. You do not need to wait for the base to cool. Carefully arrange your preferred fruit on top, pressing into the filling slightly and sprinkle with sugar. Return tart to the oven and bake for an additional 40 to 45 minutes or until top of the tart is beautifully golden and filling is set. You will see slight cracking around the edge with is normal.
Remove from heat and cool. Once cooled, cover, and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. To serve, slice wedges and dust generously with powdered sugar. This tart is amazing as a dessert or served as a side to tea with friends. Not too sweet and beautifully balanced with flavors, that get better the longer it sits.
~ Serves eight to ten people.
*Note: To be done a day ahead. It is important that the ricotta you use is dry or drained. I prefer to use a whole milk ricotta. If the ricotta appears to be thick and solid, there is no need to drain the extra liquid from the cheese. If the ricotta contains a high-water content you will need to strain by wrapping cheese is a cheese cloth and placing into a colander or strainer and placing a bowl below to catch the liquid. To encourage the release, apply gently weight to the cheese with whatever you have on hand. I usually use some whole lemons or limes. Place weighted cheese in the refrigerator and allow liquid to strain overnight.
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