Sunday, 8 December 2013

Chocolate Ricotta Tart

Would you believe I've been too busy cooking (and eating) to write up any of my recent efforts? My sister visited for a week, which distracted me from the routine of life, then it was a birthday dinner for my daughter and the arrival of a new food mixer, which needs a good work out before I can form an opinion on it's usefulness.

This Chocolate Ricotta Tart was the dessert I made for my daughter's birthday dinner. It's very similar to a cheesecake in a pastry case, and is a classic Italian or Sicilian dessert. There are dozens of recipes online and many add chopped nuts, mixed peel and citrus flavours (with or without the chocolate), but I was drawn to this version in one of my recipe books, which added only finely chopped chocolate and coffee to emphasize the flavour.

The recipe quantities in my book (The Essential Dessert Cookbook) were huge, making a deep 25cm pastry case filled with a mixture which used well over 1 Kg of ricotta. For our humbler needs,  I made a 22cm case and adapted the filling, using half quantities of the ingredients and adding some coffee flavoured liqueur. I didn't halve the amount of chocolate though - I just cut down from 125g to 100g - there's rarely such a thing as too much chocolate in this type of dessert!

I used standard shortcrust pastry for the case, although the classic recipes use a type of pastry called Pasta Frolla. The filling consisted of 625g ricotta, 2 egg yolks,  65g caster sugar, 1 tablespoon plain flour, 100g finely chopped dark chocolate, one teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon of hot water and 1 tablespoon of Tia Maria liqueur, mixed together and chilled in the raw pastry case for an hour before baking at 180C for about an hour, until firm. After cooling slowly in the slightly open oven, the tart was decorated with drizzles of melted chocolate and chilled.

The tart was not as good as expected, unfortunately. The flavour was great, but the cheese mixture was very dense  - I had expected something lighter, as ricotta is such a light cheese. I originally picked the recipe because it didn't contain extra cream, but perhaps this is needed to keep the texture lighter. Although it's considered a classic recipe, there are so many versions around that it's difficult to decide which is going to be the best.

I'm hoping to have time to make something specially for the We Should Cocoa baking challenge this month, but if I run out of time, this will be my entry, as the remit this month is to use chocolate and alcohol together. One tablespoon of liqueur hardly counts, but it might have to! More later if necessary!


Karen S Booth said...

FABULOUS tart Suelle and such lovely photos too! Karen

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Well it looks extremely inviting. I've yet to try making a ricotta tart but I have eaten a couple and, come to think of it, they both seemed a little dense too.

Suelle said...

That's interesting, Phil - perhaps I should stick to cheesecakes for lightness!

Anne said...

I always find ricotta is light but never really cooked with it other making Nigella's Baci di ricotta. Looks delicious anyway!

At least you have a nice shiny new mixer to perfect it with!