Everyone loves a good tart.
In my last post I promised that I would share this recipe. This is one of the easiest tart recipes I have ever come across. It is a mish mash of two recipes – I have used the pastry from a Donna Hay cookbook called Modern Classics Book 2 (because of it’s simplicity) and have taken the concept and the filling recipe from the Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook. The Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook has a delicious, although somewhat more complicated and time consuming, pastry recipe which is absolutely delicious and super flakey and buttery! I have included the recipe in an earlier post for those who are keen. The quicker pastry recipe here is more than adequate for when you are preparing a range of dishes for a party or Christmas and want things done a little bit quicker.
Not only does this tart look impressive, the sweet vanilla-spiked, super-smooth ricotta filling tends to make most people swoon, making it my go-to tart recipe for easy entertaining.
The case and the ricotta filling can both be made the day before. Allow the case to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. The ricotta filling in the fridge. Do not assemble it until just before you plan on eating it as it is best eaten within 2 hours of being put together.
Get creative with the toppings, using what is in season. I have used blueberries, raspberries and sliced nectarines, all with great success.
Ricotta and strawberry tart
Sweet shortcrust pastry
2 cups plain flour
3 tbsp caster sugar
150 g cold butter, cut into cubes
2-3 tbsp iced water
- Working quickly, in the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar and butter. Process until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- With the motor still running add 2 tbsp iced water. You want the dough to be starting to come together. If it looks a little dry, gradually add more water.
- Turn dough out only a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to create a relatively smooth ball of dough. Do not overwork the dough.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, you can even leave it overnight if you want.
- Preheat oven to 180° C (I use fan-forced but conventional will also do the trick). When ready to roll out your pastry, remove from fridge and roll out into a circle using a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface until 2-3 mm thick. I find that dusting the rolling pinwith a little flour also helps things go smoothly! Don’t be too vigorous with your rolling, aim to nudge the dough into a circle rather than stretch it! If it is a hot day it is important to work quickly as the butter starts to melt and it can get quite sticky and hard to work with.
- To transfer the circle of dough to the tart tin (24 or 26 inches), dust the surface of the circle with a little flour and roll the pastry onto the rolling pin and then roll it off the pin across the tart tin.
- With light fingers, nudge the dough down into the tin, being careful not to break it. (If you do break it, just patch it up with a bit of excess pastry). Working around the bottom of the tin, press the dough firmly into the corners. Remove excess pastry by pressing along the top of the tin with the palm of your hand. Tidy it up and make sure there are no super thick or super thin edges… if there are, adjust as necessary.
- Line the inside of the pastry with a sheet of baking paper and fill with rice, dried beans or baking weights and blind bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges and base are just starting to turn a pale golden colour.
- Remove the baking paper and the rice/beans/weights and return tart tin to oven to bake a further 10-12 minutes. I aim for a dark golden colour as the tart case will not be being baked again for this recipe.
- Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before filling.
Vanilla ricotta & strawberries
1 kg full fat ricotta
½ vanilla bean, spilt in half and seeds scraped
100 g pure icing sugar, sifted
500 g strawberries (or other berries or stone fruit), rinsed, hulled and sliced
- Combine ricotta, seeds from vanilla bean and sifted icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor.
- Process until well combined and completely smooth.
- Pipe or spoon the ricotta filling into the tart case prepared earlier.
- Generously arrange strawberries on top of ricotta mixture.