xmas 2018 - rhubarb and ricotta tart

Welcome to Day 4 of Christmas Week 2018. Originally I'd planned to make a raspberry frangipane tart for this year's Christmas Week inspired by one I tried in Paris. Whilst looking through my copy of Flour and Stone I saw a photograph of a rhubarb and ricotta tart and soon changed my mind. I have a love for rhubarb and these days it's always available at my local fruit shop so inspired by the image, I decided to work on my own version. 

I used my almond shortcrust pastry for the base and the filling is an adaptation of the filling from the lemon ricotta tart. The oven baked rhubarb is another tried and true recipe. The quantity needed to top the tart is quite small so store the leftovers in the fridge and use it to top your muesli or as a dessert.

Here's the recipe for you. 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.

Rhubarb and Ricotta Tart – makes an oblong 10 x 30cm tart
Oven Roasted Rhubarb 
1 bunch rhubarb, stalks washed and trimmed
4 tablespoons caster sugar
The juice of half an orange
2 strips of orange rind, each strip ~ 5cm long
1 cinnamon stick

¼ cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
¼ cup almond meal
1⅓ cups plain flour
110 g (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
Cold water

150g fresh ricotta cheese
100g cream cheese at room temperature
50g mascarpone
⅓ cup caster sugar plus 1 additional tbs
2 eggs, separated
2 tsp grated orange rind 

To serve
250 mls thickened cream whipped to soft peaks

Oven roasted rhubarb
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the rhubarb stalks into 10cm lengths and place into a baking dish with the orange rind and the cinnamon stick. Sprinkle with the sugar and drizzle the rhubarb with the orange juice. Cover the dish with foil or a lid and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the rhubarb is cooked but still holds its shape. Remove the dish from the oven and allow the rhubarb to cool. When cool, remove the cinnamon stick (it can be washed and used again) and store the rhubarb in a sealed container in the fridge. You won’t need all the rhubarb for this recipe.

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 10 x 30cm 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 ⅓ cup caster sugar, the egg yolks and the orange rind and process again. In a clean dry bowl beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the extra tablespoon of sugar and beat until glossy. Pour the cheese mixture over the egg whites and gently fold together. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C. Put the flan tin into the oven then carefully pour in the ricotta filling – you’ll have a little filling left over. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the filling has puffed and is 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. 

Allow to cool completely before decorating the top of the tart with the whipped cream and the rhubarb slices.

I know there are lots of steps in this recipe, but both the pastry and oven roasted rhubarb can be made in advance and the filling takes no time at all to prepare. I think it's worth the effort. When I took this into work,it was an absolute hit with my work mates. 

See you all tomorrow with the last of my Christmas Week bakes.

Bye for now,



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