Here I am, posting for the second week in a row, a cake recipe! I blame the approach of summer’s end, the shortening of the daylight, and the turning of tree’s leaves, that lately I have been really craving comfort foods! Or perhaps, making this recipe, which has been in my mom’s recipe book as long as I can remember, is my way of overcoming my recurrent homesickness. This ricotta tart is, without a doubt, a fond memory of my Italian youth. It’s the cake my mom use to make for my birthday, since it was (actually, it still is) my favorite. This is the cake that, on my birthday, I now prepare for myself!! I know the recipe by heart, and I can not help but make it at least one a month… because it’s that good!
The combination of crust pastry and sweet, creamy, intense ricotta cream make this seemingly simple and frugal tart a real surprise to the palate. And here is a bonus… I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but occasionally I forget a package of ricotta in the very back of the refrigerator, only to find it once it’s already expired. Super frustrating, if you hate to waste food as much as I do. Well, this tart is the perfect solution. If the ricotta hasn’t really gone bad yet, but you don’t trust eating it raw, make this tart, and not only will you avoid the food-waste guilt, but you’ll also be guaranteed a delicious outcome! And that is a WIN-WIN!! Absolutely easy to be prepared, it takes very little “hands-on” time. However, the crust pastry needs to chill in the refrigerator at least half hour before assembling the tart, and it does need to bake for about 40 minutes.
INGREDIENTS for a 9″ round pan
FOR THE PASTRY
1 stick room temperature unsalted butter – 100 gr. burro a temperature ambiente
1 egg – 1 uovo intero
4 Tbs. sugar – Quattro cucchiai di zucchero
1 Tbs. vanilla extract – 1 fialetta aroma alla vaniglia
2 cups all purpose flour – 300 gr. di farina
FOR THE RICOTTA CREAM
15 oz. (1 small package) ricotta cheese – 500 gr. ricotta
1 yolk – 1 tuorlo
1 tbs. melted unsalted butter – 20 gr. burro fuso
1/2 cup (4 oz.) sugar – 100 gr. zucchero
FOR THE DECORATION
dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
If you can, use a springform cake pan.
At least half hour before assembling the cake, prepare the crust pastry: In a bowl, combine the butter and sugar first until they are well mixed. Then add the egg and keep stirring. Add now the flour. Stir until all the egg, sugar, and butter have been absorbed into the flour and the mixture has a crumbly texture.
THE MIXTURE WILL BE LUMPY and that is right and normal. Put the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (no covering is needed). Now you can go for a thirty-minute walk (so you will gain the right to eat a piece of this delicious cake :-)!). Whenever you are ready, in a food processor mix together the ricotta cheese with the sugar and the vanilla extract. Then add the yolk, and finally the melted butter (be careful not to add a too-warmed butter: you will cook the yolk!). You will obtain a velvety and dense cream (absolutely good to be eaten raw!).
Now arrange the pie: Butter the pan and sprinkle with flour (or breadcrumbs). Spoon 3/4 of the crumbly dough mixture into the prepared pan (you will keep the rest to decorate the top of the cake). Spread the dough evenly, completely covering the bottom of the pan. Then, using your fingers, press the dough to create a firm crust. Be sure to press the dough up the sides of the pan at least 1/4 inch. This is important to contain the ricotta cream while it bakes.
Pour the ricotta cheese cream on top of the firmed crust, then sprinkle the top with chocolate chips or dark chocolate shavings. Decorate the sides of the cake using the tines of a fork. Crumble the remaining dough on top of the cream.
Bake at 365 F. (180 C.) for about 40 minutes. It will be ready when the crust becomes golden and the ricotta cream changes color.
Let the cake cool off before taking it out of the springform pan infact, even if the temptation to eat a piece right away is strong, this tart tastes better at room temperature (not too warm or too cool).
LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
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Tips: – If you want to make a less fat tart, you can use partskim ricotta cheese. Of course the taste would not be as delicious as the regular cream, but good enough to be enjoyed;
– This cake can last up to one week, even if not refrigerated.