Makes One 11-Inch Tart
Golden-rich ricotta tarts are a specialty of the arcaded city of Bologna. Some are filled with hazelnuts and chocolate; others have sweet almond paste; and there are even some filled with tagliatelle! This one has an easy-to-make custard and ricotta filling.
The amount of pastry dough here is enough for 2 small tart shells. I make one large round tart and one long and narrow rectangular shell, which I freeze for future use.
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
2 cups milk, scalded and cooled slightly
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese, well drained
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 1/2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, beat the whole eggs and 3/4 cup sugar with a wire whisk until well blended. Add the 1/4 cup flour a little at a time and blend well. Gradually add the milk and whisk well. Place the saucepan over medium heat and whisk the mixture constantly for about 6 minutes, or until it thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Place the filling in a bowl and cover with a sheet of buttered waxed paper. Set aside.
In another bowl, with a hand-held mixer, beat the ricotta, remaining sugar, and egg yolk until very smooth. Fold in the lemon zest. Add the cooled filling, blend well, and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease an 11-inch round tart pan and a 14 by 4-inch rectangular pan with removable bottoms.
With a food processor or by hand, combine the flour and cornstarch in a bowl; add the remaining dough ingredients and mix until a soft ball begins to form. Knead the dough for just a few minutes on a floured surface, then divide it in half. Pat each half into a tart pan to cover the bottom and sides. Freeze the rectangular shell for future use.
Pour the filling into the round tart pan and smooth the top. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove the tart to a rack to cool completely. Remove the sides from the pan, place the tart on a serving dish, and cut into wedges to serve.
Variation: Cut thin slices of fresh strawberries, kiwi fruit or figs to layer over the top. Glaze with warmed apricot or apple jelly.
As an alternative, make one thicker-crusted tart in a 16-inch pan.
This recipe is from NELLA CUCINA, by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1993
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