Yes, I was supposed to post this on Friday. But I’m going to start calling it “the tart that didn’t want to get posted!” It seems like over the past few days, every time I would want to sit down and type this up, something would come up. Even now as I type, my daughter is grabbing at the mouse and the keyboard! So this week there will be 2 Cookbook of the Month recipes.
I have decided that I will go forward with discovering cuisines of different regions this year through my Cookbook of the Month selections. I’m excited to be taking this trip around the world over the next 50 weeks! I mentioned with the first recipe from this book, but this month’s cookbook focuses on food from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Emilia-Romagna is a region in northern Italy that is comprised of Emilia and Romagna. This area is considered to be the richest and most developed region in Europe, and it’s capital – Bologna – is said to have one of Italy’s highest quality of life. (source)
I wanted to make sure that I included at least one dessert from this month’s cookbook – Biba’s Taste of Italy. But as I went through the recipes, I noticed that most of them contain alcohol! I ended up on this tart, mainly because I had almost all of the ingredients on hand.
I mentioned how I was supposed to post this on Friday, but I’m really glad that I didn’t. I actually made it on Friday, and when I had my first taste, I thought it was just alright. But on Saturday, it was even better. And Sunday – it was delicious!! It didn’t look as good, but I sure did enjoy the flavor a lot more!
- This tart is supposed to have a lattice crust on top. It didn’t happen for me. The dough was much too delicate and would fall apart any time I tried to arrange the pieces. So I just went for a naked look!
- The texture is a little different. I think that is what threw me off at first, but the ricotta makes it so that the texture is not very smooth. It is still very creamy, just not completely smooth.
- Give yourself plenty of time if you make this, as both the crust and custard need time to chill. But it can be done in 2 days, which makes it seem a lot less complicated.
Recipe Rating: 3.75 out of 5
(I would have given it a 3.5 the first day, but a 4 the third day, so I went with something in the middle!)
Custard Cream and Ricotta Tart
from Biba’s Taste of Italy
For the dough
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
grated zest of 1 lemon
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
For the Custard Cream
1 1/2 cups milk
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 pound whole-milk ricotta
To make the dough by hand, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add the butter and, with your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture has a fine crumbly consistency. Stir in the egg yolks with a fork, then mix gently with your hands until the dough begins to come together.
To make the dough in a food processor, place the flour, sugar, baking powder and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse briefly until the mixture has a fine crumbly consistency. Add the eggs and pulse a few times to moisten the ingredients evenly.
Transfer the dough to a work surface and shape into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate a few hours.
To prepare the custard cream, combine the milk and lemon zest in a small saucepan and bring to just under a boil. Remove from the heat.
Beat the egg yolks ans sugar in a large stainless-steel bowl, using an electric hand mixer, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, using the balloon whisk, until pale yellow and thick. Beat in the flour a little at a time. Add the hot milk in a thin stream, beating on low speed.
Leave the mixture in the bowl or transfer to the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Stir constantly and thoroughly with a rubber spatula until the cream begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Once the cream thickens, switch to a wire whisk, and continue to stir constantly, reaching all the way to the bottom of the bowl, until the cream is thick and easily coats the bottom of a spoon, 6 to 8 minutes longer. Remove from the heat, and place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter a 9- or 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
Put the ricotta in a large bowl. Gently but thoroughly fold in the custard cream; set aside.
Cut off about one-third of the dough, wrap it, and put it back in the refrigerator. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the larger ball of dough into a 13-inch circle. Place in the tart pan and press the dough gently and evenly into the pan. Trim the edges of the dough with scissors, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang.
Pour the cream-ricotta mixture into the shell and smooth the top with a spatula.
Roll out the smaller ball of dough. With a scalloped pastry wheel, cut it into 1/4-inch strips. Arrange the strips on top of the tart to make a lattice. Fold the overhanging dough over the strips to secure them and to form a border, then press the border with the tines of a fork to seal the ends and make a decorative rim. Brush the dough with the beaten egg.
Place the tart on the middle rack of the oven and bake until the top has a golden brown color, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the tart cool for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove the tart ring.
When the tart is completely cool, dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.