Torta della nonna (ricotta and lemon tart)
- September 2018
- Serves 8-10
- Hands-on time 45 min, oven time 1 hour 15 min, plus chilling
Angela Hartnett‘s elegant ricotta and lemon tart (torta della nonna) would make a fine dinner party dessert or a great finale to an Easter feast. Once you’ve made the pastry (which is the fiddly part), the rest is a breeze to make.
- 29.1g (14.6g saturated)
- 47.8g (32.3g sugars)
For the pastry
- 150g unsalted butter
- 90g icing sugar, sifted
- 3 medium free-range egg yolks, plus 1 for brushing
- 200g plain flour
- Pinch salt
For the lemon filling
- 5 medium free-range eggs
- 200g caster sugar
- Finely grated zest 1 lemon, juice 3
- 125ml double cream
- 200g fresh ricotta
- 100g toasted pine nuts and icing sugar to serve
You’ll also need…
- 23cm deep loose-bottomed tart tin
- Ceramic baking beans (or uncooked rice)
- For the pastry, put the butter and icing sugar in a mixing bowl and use an electric hand mixer to beat until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the 3 egg yolks and beat again until combined. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and briefly whisk until just combined. Quickly bring the dough together with your hands, being careful not to over-work it. Press into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for 45 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas 3½. Once the pastry has chilled, roll out to the thickness of a £1 coin and carefully line the tin. Trim the edges, then chill for 15 minutes. Crumple a sheet of non-stick baking paper, then use it to line the pastry case. Fill it with ceramic baking beans (or uncooked rice), then bake for 25 minutes. Remove the baking beans/rice and baking paper and bake for 5-10 minutes more, until the pastry is cooked through, golden and feels sandy to the touch.
- Once the pastry is cooked, brush it with the remaining egg yolk and bake for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. This helps to seal the pastry and prevent it from going soggy after the filling is added. Turn the oven temperature down to 140°C/120°C fan/gas 1.
- While the pastry is cooling, make the lemon filling. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until combined, then stir in the lemon zest and juice, followed by the cream. Skim any froth from the top with a large metal spoon (discard), then transfer to a jug.
- Spoon the ricotta over the base of the cooled pastry case and spread out to an even layer using the back of the spoon or a spatula. Put the tart back on the oven shelf and carefully pour in the lemon filling.
- Bake the ricotta and lemon tart for 35-40 minutes until the filling is just set with a slight wobble in the centre. Remove the tart and cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove from the tart tin and cool for another 10-15 minutes on a wire rack. While the tart is still warm, sprinkle over the toasted pine nuts, dust with icing sugar, then serve in slices.
Make the pastry a day ahead, wrap it well, then keep in the fridge. The cooled, baked tart – without the pine nuts – will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Scatter the pine nuts over and dust with icing sugar to serve.
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