Chocolate Ricotta Tart

First of all I’d like to wish all the mothers out there a very Happy Mother’s Day! To celebrate I thought I’d share something sweet with you today. This is a tart made with rich dark chocolate, ricotta, rum, grated orange rind and walnuts, it’s absolutely wonderful! Just put on a pot of coffee or your favorite espresso and you’re all set!

I was fortunate to be the winner of this awesome bar of rich dark Jacques Torres chocolate over by my friend Pat’s blog, Mille Fiori Favoriti. Pat has lived in New York City her entire life. If you want to visit NYC I highly recommend you check out her blog, she’ll make you want to pack your bags ASAP!

 

Jacques Torres known as “Mr Chocolate” is ranked as one of the top pastry chefs of the world, so I knew I was in for a real treat! The second I opened up the bar and unraveled the paper the smell was so intoxicating! Oh, and there’s a reason why it’s called a Big Daddy Bar, this thing was huge!

I saw this poster in a chocolate shop and thought it was very appropriate for this post.

Here’s the recipe!

 

The filling consists of, 4 1/2 oz of semisweet dark chocolate, broken into pieces, 1 cup ricotta cheese, 1/3 cup confectioners sugar, 2 tbsp dark rum, finely grated rind of half an orange, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts.

 

If you’re adventurous you can make your own double pie crust or just buy a good quality one like I did.

 

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water. Mix together the ricotta, confectioners sugar, grated orange rind, rum, vanilla and walnuts, mixing evenly. Roll out dough to fit into a 9″ tart pan with removable bottom. Spoon the ricotta mixture evenly into the pastry, it will be thick, don’t worry. Roll the remaining dough and cut into strips to form a lattice top. Place on a baking sheet in a preheated 350F oven for 35-40 minutes, until firm and golden.
ENJOY!

 

Recipe adapted from Frame by Frame Italian

 

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Pears for Dessert, 3 Ways!

Here’s a few simple desserts using fresh pears which I happen to have an abundance of!
Marsala Baked Pears, doesn’t that sound good to you? Believe me when I tell you, it was!

The flavor is out of this world because what happens here is while the pears are baking their continually soaking up butter and Marsala to the point where they become beautifully caramelized, when finished and still warm they become the perfect companion to ice cream,
whipped cream, or luscious mascarpone! You can garnish with something crunchy like nuts or crumbled biscotti, need I say more?

 

Not really a recipe, here’s what you do;
Peel and slice pears lengthwise, place them in a baking dish, pour in sweet Marsala wine half way up the side of the pears, place dabs of butter all around and sprinkle wine with sugar or you can even use honey just to sweeten everything up a bit. Place in a 350F oven for around a good hour basting them often, you’ll know their done when the liquid becomes caramelized.
Pear and Ricotta Tart, This is a standard recipe I use whenever I want to bake a fruit of any sort with ricotta. I use a 9″ tart pan with a removable bottom then place a good pre made pie dough into the bottom, ( I told you it was simple!) of course you can make your own if you like. To insure the dough being crusty and cooked on the bottom I like to blind bake the dough for a five minutes in a 425F oven by placing a piece of parchment paper on top and then adding some beans or pie weights, then remove, take off the weights and reduce oven to 375F.
For the filling;
1lb ricotta cheese
6 0r 7 ripe pear halves, sliced lengthwise and cored
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
Fresh orange zest or 1 heaping tablespoon of apricot preserves
Pinch of cinnamon

Mix everything together in a bowl until well blended, (except the pears of course). Place filling into pie shell and position pears all around. ( optional, sprinkle and swirl more cinnamon on top) Bake at 375F for around 30 minutes. While still warm brush apricot preserves on top of pears. Let it cool down while you put on a pot of espresso!

And last but not least, Chocolate Ricotta Filled Pears. Turning creamy white ricotta into chocolate is so quick using cocoa powder and then pairing it with orange is a match made in heaven! I can’t wait to try this with strawberries, because we all know how good chocolate and strawberries are!
Poach 3 whole peeled pears in 3 cups of water and 1/4 cup of orange juice, cook around 10 minutes in a covered pan , when pears are tender remove and cool down.When cooled, slice them lengthwise and remove cores.
Ricotta Filling:
1 cup ricotta
1/3 cup of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mini chocolate chips, ( as many as you like)
Combine everything into a bowl then spoon the mixture into the center of the pears. Garnish with orange zest and more chocolate chips.
Recipe adapted from BHG
Note: For a real quickie, use purchased bottled pears, I tried it, it’s good too!
Buon Appetito!

 

 

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Apple Wrapped Ricotta Tarts

The other day while I was photo grazing over at TasteSpotting, I came across Confessions of a Tart, she had just posted apple and ricotta tartlets. What caught my eye was that instead of a pastry crust, she used sliced apples. What a great idea! A dessert I don’t have to feel guilty about eating, and besides that, it just sounded so good to me. I knew I was going to make this.

I wanted to change mine up a bit, so I decided to add some rum soaked golden raisins to the ricotta mixture, which turned out adding great flavor to the ricotta. Basically you slice apples very thin, and then you arrange them in overlapping circles inside muffin cups. Irene had a great visual on this so take a look at her photo here. This takes a little time and patience, and as you can see from my little tart above, my apple layering didn’t turn out nearly as pretty as Irene’s.

So I decided to pull out my little 8″ spring form pan, butter up the sides and bottom and then layered my apples around the bottom and along the side. As soon as I spread the ricotta mixture down it served as a wall and I added more apple slices in layers along the side. This was way easier for me to handle, and I think the result turned out nice. What do you think?

The only thing I would suggest if you use a spring form pan, is to wrap tin foil around the bottom and lower sides so that none of the juice from the apple slices will seep through and smoke up your oven.


Here’s the ingredients:
This recipe makes 8 tartlets, but you can double or triple the recipe, if you want to make more than 8, or if you want to use a spring form pan.
**Rum soaked golden raisins.
**4 firm apples, peeled, cut, cored and sliced thin for layering.
**8oz. of ricotta cheese.
**4T of sugar.
**1 egg.
Drain your raisins and sprinkle on top of your ricotta mixture.

Bake 350F for 30-35 minutes until set and puffed. If you’re making the tartlets let them cool and remove them gently with a tablespoon, I found that worked well. Taste great warm or cold!

We throughly enjoyed ever bite of this!
Buon Appetito!!
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LIMONCELLO RICOTTA TART

Tucked away in my freezer is this wonderful bottle of Limoncello that we bought on our trip to Italy. Every time I look at it I get reminded of the great time we had there. I try to savor every drop of it and only use it for special things. Yes, I could buy a bottle of Limoncello at my neighborhood liquor store at any time, but it just won’t be as “special”. And so, I pulled it out to make my Ricotta Tart, and just that little hint of Limoncello puts it over the top!!!

INGREDIENTS

2lb’s good ricotta, drained

1/2 cup of sugar

Zest of a whole lemon

3 lrg eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/2 cup of shaved semi-sweet chocolate

1 1/2 Tbl cake flour

2 Tbl’s or “More” of Limoncello liqueur ( according to your taste)

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9 or 10 in. tart pan, and fill it with your favorite pastry dough.
Mix together in a large bowl the sugar into the ricotta, add your zest, cinnamon, and then fold in your shaved chocolate. **** IMPORTANT POINT HERE!!! At this point, before the eggs are added, I would take a spoon and taste your ricotta filling to see if all the flavors are strong enough to your liking. If not, you can add a little more zest, cinnamon, or Limoncello.
Next, add your eggs one at a time, along with the cake flour.

Now take your leftover dough and cut into strips to make a basket weave top, brush top of the dough strips with milk, this will make it golden brown.
Bake for about 55min’s or until toothpick comes out clean and golden on top
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Buon Appetito!!!

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