Italian ricotta tart

Italian ricotta tart
  • Serves icon Serves 8-10
  • Time icon Hands-on 1 hour, oven 65-70 min, plus chilling and cooling

Think creamy, zesty rice pudding, made with a good splash of rum, encased in golden pastry and you’ve got delicious. reader Emma Marijewycz’s take on traditional Italian ricotta tart, also known as Pastiera Napoletana.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
364kcals
Fat
16.4g (9g saturated)
Protein
11.1g protein
Carbohydrates
40.7g (13.5g sugars)
Fibre
1.1g
Salt
0.5g
Calories
364kcals
Fat
16.4g (9g saturated)
Protein
11.1g protein
Carbohydrates
40.7g (13.5g sugars)
Fibre
1.1g
Salt
0.5g

For 10

Ingredients

For the pastry


  • 250g ‘00’ flour (sometimes sold as pasta flour) or strong plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 100g cold unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 medium free-range eggs, lightly beaten

For the filling

  • 100g arborio rice
  • 3 medium free-range eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 extra yolk, beaten, for glazing
  • 400g ricotta
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Finely grated zest 1 lemon
  • Finely grated zest 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp Strega liqueur or rum (optional)

You’ll also need…

  • 22cm x 4cm deep loose-bottomed cake tin, greased

Method

  1. To make the pastry, put the flour, salt, sugar and butter into a food processor and pulse until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the 2 beaten eggs and pulse again until it comes together into a soft dough. (If it isn’t coming together, add a little cold water – no more than 1-2 tbsp.) Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap in cling film, then put in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  2. Roll out two thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured surface, reserving the remaining pastry in cling film in the fridge. Move the pastry after each roll to prevent it sticking.
  3. Working quickly but gently, line the prepared tin with the pastry, pressing it up the sides and into the edge, allowing the excess to hang over the top of the tin. Return to the freezer for 20 minutes. Heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas 5.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a medium pan of water to the boil, add the arborio rice and cook for 12-15 minutes. When the rice is cooked and soft, drain and leave to cool until ready to make the filling.
  5. Line the chilled pastry case with foil, then fill with ceramic baking beans or uncooked rice. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the beans/rice and foil, then return to the oven for 5-8 minutes until the pastry feels sandy and there are no grey patches. Cool.
  6. Turn the oven down to 170°C/ 150°C fan/gas 3½. For the filling, put the cooled rice in a mixing bowl with the 3 beaten eggs, ricotta, sugar, vanilla extract and the lemon and orange zests, then combine. Stir in the alcohol, if using, then chill in the fridge while the pastry is cooling.
  7. Once the pastry case has cooled, pour in the chilled filling mixture. Remove the remaining dough from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a circle slightly larger than the diameter of the tin. Cut into 1cm strips.
  8. Lay strips across the top of the tart filling, leaving a 1cm gap between each one. Lay more strips at right angles across the top, leaving the same size gap between strips to create a lattice. Fold the ends of each strip under itself to give a neat appearance.
  9. Brush the pastry lattice evenly with beaten egg yolk, then bake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes or until golden and the filling feels set to the touch. Remove and leave to cool completely before serving in slices.

delicious. tips

  1. The dense creaminess of the rice is enlivened by a good slug of Strega, a sweet herbal liqueur from Benevento, a town close to my nonna’s village. It’s traditional in Neapolitan pastries, but you can use rum instead. Enjoy this tart with a little extra glug of Strega on the side, or an espresso.

  2. The pastry will keep for up to 24 hours covered in the fridge. You can keep the baked tart for up to 24 hours in a sealed container in the fridge.

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