torte di ricotta e limone

I first saw this Antonio Carluccio recipe in the May 2014 issue of Delicious Magazine. I've made the candied lemon slices so many times but until recently, I'd not made the tart they decorate. Last weekend I had some leftover ricotta cheese in the fridge; lemons in the fruit bowl and found some shortcrust pastry in the freezer so decided to make the ricotta and lemon tart. The original recipe called for mascarpone but as I already had cream cheese in the fridge I used what I had.

When I was in Paris in May I bought a 16cm flan tin, the perfect sized tin to make smaller versions of my favourite recipes. This was the first time I'd used the tin. I'd run out of almond meal so I couldn't make a fresh batch of pastry and the one from the freezer was of an indeterminate age, but it was probably at least 5 months old. I had some trouble rolling out the pastry, which was very crumbly. Once baked it was fine but next time I'd make a fresh batch of pastry.

The filling was so easy to make. You just whiz everything together in the food processor and pour it into the tin. Once baked, you need to refrigerate the tart for a few hours to let the filling set.

Although the candied lemon slices are a bit of a fiddle, I think they add a bit of extra citrus zing to the tart.

Here's the recipe for you which is adapted slightly from the original recipe to make a 16 cm tart. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Torte di Ricotta e Limone 
¼ cup icing sugar 
¼ cup almond meal
1⅓ cups plain flour
110 g (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
Cold water

125g fresh ricotta cheese
125g cream cheese (or mascarpone) at room temperature
⅓ cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp grated lemon rind
40mls lemon juice
125ml cream, whipped for the topping

Candied Lemon Slices - optional
1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
⅓ cup caster sugar
⅓ cup water

To make the pastry, combine all the dry ingredients in a food processor, and whiz for a few seconds until well combined and free of lumps. Add the cold butter and whiz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and sufficient cold water and whiz until a soft dough just starts to form around the blade. Remove the dough from the food processor and gather the pastry into a ball; flatten slightly before wrapping in plastic and placing in the fridge. Refrigerate the pastry for 30 minutes. You’ll only need about half of the pastry dough for this recipe. The pastry freezes well so just wrap the remaining pastry in plastic wrap and store in the freezer.

Grease a 16 cm flan tin and place it on an oven tray. Line the tin with pastry, trim the edges then refrigerate for a further 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 190°C. Cover the pastry with a sheet of baking paper and fill the shell with baking beads or rice and blind bake for 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove the paper and beans from the pastry case and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until golden brown and the base is dry. If any cracks occur in the pastry, you can patch the holes with some leftover pastry.

Make the filling while the pastry is baking. Place the cheeses in the food processor and process until smooth. Add ¼ cup caster sugar, the egg and yolk and the lemon rind and juice and process again. Taste the mixture for sweetness and add the remaining sugar if necessary. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C. Put the flan tin into the oven then carefully pour in the ricotta filling. Bake for about 30 minutes or until just set. The tart should still have a wobble in the centre when you jiggle the tin. It will continue to cook and firm up when it is out of the oven and cooling. When the tart has cooled, top the tart with the whipped cream and the candied lemon slices if using.

Candied lemon Slices
To make the candied lemon slices, put the water and sugar into a frying pan over a medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to turn golden brown. Slide in the lemon slices and cook for a few more minutes before turning over. Cook until well coated with the toffee. Carefully remove the lemon slices from the toffee and place on the baking paper to cool. Arrange a few of the slices over the top of the cream to serve. Any leftover lemon slices can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge between pieces of baking paper.

The end result is a very delicate tart which disappeared in record time and by the time lunch rolled around there were no leftovers to share. I'll definitely be making this tart again.

See you all again soon with some more baking from my kitchen. 

Bye for now, 



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