Friday, February 11, 2011

Ricotta Tart with Dried-Fruit Compote

If you're thinking I made this tart just so I could use my homemade fresh ricotta cheese, you're right! I was so proud of my ricotta (and the fact that I successfully made cheese of any kind) that I really wanted to show it off and not just bury it in pasta and sauce (just this first time, because now that I type it, being buried in pasta and sauce sounds pretty great). 

This tart is kind of like a light, subtle cheesecake. Not heavy or too sweet. And the dried fruit compote complements it nicely.
Makes 8 to 10 servings

tart shell:
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water

ricotta filling:
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 pound ricotta (preferably fresh)
1 large egg + 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1/8 teaspoon salt

fruit compote:
2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract)
3 (3” x ½”) strips of lemon zest
1 cup dried Calmyrna figs (5 ounces), stems trimmed and cut in quarters
1/2 cup dried California apricots (3 1/2 ounces), cut in halves or quarters
1/4 cup dried sour cherries (3 ounces)

Make shell:
1.      Preheat oven to 375° F. with rack in middle. Generously butter a 14” x 4” rectangular tart pan with removable bottom (or an 8” round tart pan with removable bottom).
2.      Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and zest and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Add yolk, vanilla, and water and pulse until just incorporated and dough begins to form large clumps.
3.      Turn out dough onto a work surface and knead for about 1 minute or until dough can be gathered easily into a ball. Flatten dough into a rectangle.
4.      Press dough over bottom and up sides of pan in an even layer. Chill for 45 minutes.
5.      Lightly prick shell all over with a fork, then line with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake shell until sides are set and edge is golden, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove weights and foil and bake until shell is golden all over, about 15 minutes more. Cool shell completely in pan on a rack. (Leave oven on.)
Make filling:
6.      Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and mix in ricotta, whole egg and egg white, and salt until just combined.
7.      Pour filling into cooled tart shell and bake until slightly puffed along edges and just set in center, about 15 minutes (center will tremble when tart is gently shaken). Transfer to a rack and cool completely. Loosely cover tart with plastic wrap and chill until filling is firm, at least 8 hours.  Tart can be chilled for up to 2 days. Cover tightly after 8 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving if desired.
Make compote:
8.      Bring water, wine, sugar, vanilla bean (if using), and zest to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Stir figs into syrup and simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes. Stir in apricots and simmer for another 2 minutes. Stir in cherries and simmer for 1 more minute. Remove fruit to a bowl using a slotted spoon.
9.      Boil syrup until reduced to about 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Discard lemon zest and vanilla bean (or if using extract, stir in now), then pour syrup over fruit and cool to room temperature. Serve compote with tart.  Compote can be made 3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

adapted from Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez

dough before kneading and gathering into a ball
dough flattened to roughly the shape of the pan
(I actually ended up using my rolling pin a little to help flatten.)
dough pressed into pan
I've never bothered with pie weights, old leftover beans
or rice work just as well (and they're cheaper too)
baked crust

I did have some shrinkage on the sides (because I was impatient
and didn't let the dough rest/chill long enough in the fridge).

So, don't do that. I also bumped the crust on the top of the oven
when I was pulling it out.  Not my finest hour, but once I cut
the tart into slices, it wasn't really that noticeable.
mixing the filling
filled, but not baked yet

I was concerned the crust's edges might burn because
it was already a nice shade of brown after blind baking,
so I used tin foil to cover the edges.
Aside from the crust looking a little wonky
(okay, very wonky), it turned out great

Sorry I forgot to take photos of the making of the fruit compote. But there was nothing terribly exciting or complicated about it, so you didn't miss much.


Judie Cleland said...

Oh Susan, it looks so yummy. And, I couldn't wait to see how you were using the fresh ricotta cheese. You're the best.

Anonymous said...

I have a very long list of ones I want to try. The pear and leek recipe, the ricotta cheese and now the Ricotta tart with dried fruit compote plus others I will have to look up. You are my primary current addiction.

Susan said...

And unlike other additions, you don't have to worry about blacking out or gambling away your life savings (just eating too much and getting a stomach ache).

Randi said...

Do you save the beans /rice you use as pie weights and reuse them?

Susan said...

You can save them for a few uses, but after a while they do get a little stinky. I've heard of people using pennies too, but I've never tried that.

Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat) said...

This looks divine... I knew you were going to come up with something great to do with the ricotta but this is really special.

I've had several successes this week in my baking and an "eh" batch of brownies today. Maybe I'll bring you some tomorrow and you can help me brain storm how to improve them.

Susan said...

Sure thing...brownie taste tester sounds like a nice way to spend a Saturday!

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