I was going to call this recipe “Rustic ricotta and raspberry tarts” but that seemed a little too alliterative, even to provide an excuse for pastry that did not turn out quite as it should. However, it was very delicious and a perfect vehicle for my latest obsession – home made ricotta. It was a revelation to me that just the combination of milk, cream, a little salt and some lemon juice made this creamy, beautifully soft, fresh cheese. I am sure that it will be a regular thing at our place from now on, because it was just so delicious and almost effortless to make. If you want to make it yourself I would recommend Martha Stewart’s recipe which is concise, easy, and clearly explained. Otherwise, just use a good quality store-bought ricotta for these tarts. Just as they are, or jazzed up with some dark chocolate ganache drizzled over the top, they make a wonderful sweet treat. Very Enid Blyton and the Famous Five! If raspberries are not in season, or are outrageously expensive, then strawberries or blueberries would be good substitutes.
Makes 8 tarts
1 quantity of my sweet pastry or 2 sheets store-bought frozen shortcrust pastry
500g fresh ricotta
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste, or vanilla extract
500g fresh or frozen raspberries, or a combination of fresh raspberries, blueberries and strawberries
Preheat oven to 180 C. Lightly grease 8 individual tart tins. I used 8 cm diameter shallow tins with removable bases. If you don’t have individual tins you could just use a 20 cm diameter spring form tin and make one large tart. Carefully cut out the pastry to fit the tins, line the tins with the pastry rounds and carefully prick the insides with a fork. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking. Blind bake using your preferred method for 10 minutes and then remove whatever you have used to weigh down the pastry and return to the oven for another 5 -6 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the tins and cool on a wire rack. In a medium glass bowl beat together the ricotta, cream, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. If making ahead, you might need to beat the mixture again just before serving as it will thicken a little in the fridge. When ready to serve, fill the pastry shells with the smooth ricotta and top with the raspberries. You can fill a couple of hours before serving, but any longer and the pastry might suffer and become limp and soggy. Dust with some extra icing sugar or a drizzle of chocolate ganache if you wish, or serve just on their own in all their bejeweled and creamy glory.