Torta della nonna (ricotta and lemon tart)

Torta della nonna (ricotta and lemon tart)
  • Serves icon Serves 8-10
  • Time icon 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 dessert at a dinner party. Once you’ve made the pastry (which is the fiddly part), the rest is a breeze to make.

Or, try this Italian sultana and ricotta torte, which has a slightly milder flavour.

Nutrition: For 10

Calories
494kcals
Fat
29.1g (14.6g saturated)
Protein
9.8g
Carbohydrates
47.8g (32.3g sugars)
Fibre
0.9g
Salt
0.4g
Calories
494kcals
Fat
29.1g (14.6g saturated)
Protein
9.8g
Carbohydrates
47.8g (32.3g sugars)
Fibre
0.9g
Salt
0.4g

Ingredients

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)

Method

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

delicious. tips

  1. 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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