Thursday, July 28, 2011

a manly tart - but sweet enough for anyone to enjoy.


I'm a lover of shortbread. It does not matter if it is in cookie or crust form, if it is part of a dessert I can seldom resist seconds. However, my husband has no love for shortbread and the only way he will eat it is when it is tamed a bit in a lemon bar. Because of this I have been on the lookout for something similar to a shortbread, but not quite as sweet. The answer lies with cornmeal.

I ended up combining several different recipes for this one.

Creamy Ricotta and Berry Tart

Cornmeal Shortbread Dough:
-1 1/4 cups flour
-3 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 large egg yolk
-1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
-3 tablespoons sugar
-1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

1. Whisk together flour, cornmeal and salt in a large bowl, set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together yolk, cream and vanilla. Set aside.

2. Put butter and sugar in electric mixer, with paddle attachment mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy (roughly 2 minutes). Mix in yolk mixture and orange zest until combined. Shape dough into a disk; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes (or up until 1 day) before using.

3. Preheat oven to 375 F. Press dough into a 10 in. circular tart pan with removable bottom. Trim edges of dough even with pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake until golden and crisp, about 18 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack.

ricotta tart filling:
(recipe found in Rustic Fruit Desserts)

-1 cup whole milk ricotta
-2/3 cup cream cheese (6 oz) at room temp.
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
-1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
-2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 F.

With a mixer, mix the ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, salt and nutmeg on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Pour the filling into the prepared tart shell. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges have puffed up but the middle is still quite wobbly. It firms up as it cools. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.


Prepare the berry topping:
-2 cups berries (I have used blackberries and wild raspberries)
-3 tablespoons sugar
-1 tablespoon water
-1/4 cup, loosely packed basil leaves

In a small saucepan, stir together all the above ingredients over medium heat. Cook, stirring gently, until berries have softened and released their juices (about 2 minutes). Remove basil and pour over each serving of the tart. (you can spread it over the entire tart, but if you notice in the photo above, it runs a bit.)

*the cornmeal shortbread crust and berry topping recipes were found in "Martha Stewart Living" August 2005.

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