Crostata Di Ricotta is an Italian tart with a slightly sweet bottom crust (Pasta Frolla) and lattice top and a creamy, ricotta and mascarpone filling. It is often made simply with vanilla or citrus flavors, but the Sicilian version often includes one or more additional ingredients such as candied orange peel, pine nuts, marsala-soaked sultanas, or chocolate. My daughter Lisa prefers vanilla and almond flavors while candied orange peel and pine nuts are my husband Terry’s favorites. In the Italian fashion, the dessert is not overly sweet, so you often see it dusted with powdered sugar.
Pasta Frolla is the Italian version of short crust and is used to make most Italian tarts and some cookies. The dough is easy to handle and roll and produces a crunchy, melt-in-your mouth texture.
CROSTATA DI RICOTTA
- 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Zest of ½ large orange
- 12 tablespoons cold butter cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 ounces full fat ricotta (see recipe note)
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- Optional Add-Ins:
- ½ cup sultanas soaked in enough Marsala to cover (drain well before adding)
- 2-3 tablespoons diced candied orange peel
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- Using a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and citrus zest together.
- Add cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Beat the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla together; add to the flour mixture. Pulse until dough comes together.
- Empty dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently just until you have a smooth ball. Do not overmix.
- Divide dough into 2 pieces – 2/3 and 1/3. Pat into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill while preparing the filling.
- Beat ricotta and mascarpone in electric mixer until smooth and creamy, one minute or so.
- Add sugar, eggs, extracts and orange zest. Mix well. Stir in any additional add-ins.
- Pre-heat the oven to 325° convection.
- Roll out the smaller piece of dough into a 10” circle about ⅛" thick and cut into ¾” strips using a fluted pastry wheel. Put the strips on a cookie sheet and chill until needed.
- Roll out the larger piece of pastry into an 11” circle and line a 9” fluted tart pan with removable bottom.
- Drape the pastry over the pan and press gently into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim the excess pastry. An easy way is to roll a rolling pin over the top of the tart pan. Save the excess scraps to make cookies.
- Pour the filling into prepared pan.
- Brush lattice strips lightly with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk) and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Carefully place strips over the filled tart shell in a lattice pattern. The lattice might sink into the filling somewhat. That is not a problem. Trim any excess and gently press edges into tart pan.
- Bake at 325° convection for 30-35 minutes or until filling is set and tart is golden brown.
- Cool thoroughly before removing outer ring. Chill before removing bottom of pan.
Basket Ricotta from Sonoma, which might be difficult to find. Good supermarket brands are Calabro and BelGioioso. GetCheffy: Serve with Slow Roasted Strawberries or Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote.