Italians love tarts with jam. It must be something about preserving the freshest and sweetest fruit and turning it into something that can be eaten through the year. They also love ricotta, which is wonderfully versatile and can be made into gnocchi, a Christmas zuccotto or baked into a savoury cake. The possibilities are endless. The cake I made on the weekend married ricotta and citrus fruit. It was a very successful marriage.
I based the recipe on a blog post I found (written in Italian). I used the superb orange marmalade that my sister Barbara made and put it into a sweet pastry case. I then topped it with a layer of creamy lemony ricotta. The sweet soft ricotta is a perfect contrast to the slightly bitter marmalade. Best of all, you don’t need a food processor for this recipe! Everything is made by hand. It is delicious cold from the fridge with a cup of coffee in the afternoon.
Lemon ricotta and orange marmalade tart
325g plain flour
125g unsalted butter (cold from the fridge), cut into thin slices
110g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon cold milk
grated rind of one lemon (using a microplane)
2 egg whites
60g caster sugar
grated rind of another lemon
300g orange marmalade
Place the flour in a large bowl and scatter the slices of butter. Work the butter into the flour with your fingers quickly until incorporated into a “sandy” mixture. Scatter on the sugar and lemon zest and work in with your fingers. Add the eggs, egg yolks and milk and work the pastry until a ball forms and all the ingredients are incorporated. Flatten into a large disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, line a 28cm tart tin with a removable base with foil and set aside. Place the ricotta in a medium sized bowl and add the lemon zest, sugar and egg yolks. Incorporate well with a fork. The mixture will be creamy and thick (and tastes very nice!). Place this in a piping bag with a large nozzle and set aside.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll with a rolling pin until you have a circle that is larger than your cake tin (remembering that the pastry will have to go up the sides of the tin) – I rolled the pastry between two sheets of plastic wrap so it does not stick to the bench and make it easier to lift into the tin. Lift the pastry into the lined tin, pressing down onto the sides and removing the excess. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Place the marmalade onto the pastry making sure it is spread evenly. Pipe the ricotta mixture onto the marmalade and flatten it out with the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge for ten minutes (by which time the oven should have reached temperature). Bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden. When the tart has cooled completely grate some extra lemon zest and slice to serve.
This tart keeps in the fridge (covered) for around 5 days.