There were supposed to be three little tarts in this photo, but being a consummate professional I had to
double triple quadruple check that they were up to scratch because I couldn't possibly post them otherwise. My verdict? They are good, really good. To say the least. Biased (and immodest) I may be but how could you go wrong with a crisp almost biscuity base, zingy lemon curd and smooth creamy ricotta custard. Sprinkle with pine nuts that toast lightly while in the oven and any naysayers will feel the wrath of my spatula!
A naturally flowing result of a need to use up some lemon curd, they are a lemony version of an orange and ricotta tart that featured in last months Italian issue of Delicious magazine. The lemon curd came from a need to use up the egg yolks left over from the hazelnut filling for the Crepe Cake last week. Thrifty me? All week it waited bright yellow and patient in a Kilner jar on the top shelf of the fridge while I made up and then changed my mind several times over. I had just decided on a raspberry and lemon curd tart when I flicked across this and decided I could twist it to suit my sweet needs. A little polenta in the pastry, lemon zest and juice to replace the orange, limoncello, if you have it to replace the orange flower water and lastly the lemon curd in place of orange marmalade. Incidentally if the sound of this orangey version is making you a little weak about the knees, Andrew over at Spittoon Extra made it recently and has posted the original recipe.
You can make your own lemon curd or buy a good quality shop-bought one. I chose a recipe from Tish Boyle's The Cake Book for the simple reason that it calls for egg yolks rather than whole eggs. I halved the recipe but I'll give the full one as it keeps well in the fridge. The recipe follows after the tart.
I'm sending this to an amazing global blog event called Taste of Yellow hosted by Barbara. Click on the link to find out all about this great cause.
LEMON & RICOTTA TARTS
For the pastry:
- 200g plain flour (I substituted 50g of fine polenta for 50g of flour)
- 50g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 100g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus three tbls lemon juice
- 1 egg yolk
For the filling:
- 350g ricotta, drained
- 2 large eggs
- 55g caster sugar
- I tbsp lemon juice (or maybe limoncello if you have it)
- 140g lemon curd (home-made or good quality shop bought)
- 30g pine nuts
- To make the pastry: Whizz the flour, icing sugar, butter and the lemon zest in a processor. Add the egg yolk and enough lemon juice to make it come together to form a soft, but not sticky dough. Don't put all the juice in at once as different flours absorb liquids at different rates and you may not need all the juice. Or you may need more. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface and use to line a 35cm x 11cm fluted tart tin or six 9 cm tartlet tins (you'll have some left over). You can trim off any excess pastry now or,as I prefer to do, after you have blind-baked the shells. Chill the pastry for a further 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/ fan 160 C. Line the tart with baking paper and baking beans or uncooked rice. Blind-bake for 10 (around 7 minutes if making tartlets). Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes, until crisp and golden. Cool slightly.
- For the filling: Whizz the ricotta, caster sugar and lemon juice, 2 eggs and lemon zest in a food processor (or just beat together in a bowl until well combined, who needs to wash a food processor twice in one recipe?) Spread the lemon curd over the base ot the tart(s) and pour over the filling. Sprinkle with the nuts and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, (start checking the tartlets at 15 minutes) until lightly set. The filling won't take on very much colour. Cool slightly in the tin then remove and serve dusted with icing sugar.
- 8 large egg yolks
- 250g sugar
- 2 tsps finely grated lemon zest
- 180ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- 115g unsalted butter
- Set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl and set aside. In a medium, heavy, nonreactive saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until blended. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, salt and butter and cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 7 to 10 minutes (do not let the custard boil, or it will curdle). The mixture should leave a path on the back of a wooden spoon when you draw your finger across it. Immediately strain the mixture through the sieve, pressing it through with a rubber spatula.
- Set the bowl containing the lemon mixture in a large bowl filled about one-third of the way ice water (be careful that the water doesn't splash into the lemon mixture). Stir the mixture frequently until it is slightly chilled, about 15 minutes. Cover the surface with cling film and chill in the fridge until ready to use. Or else store in an airtight container.
Makes about 500ml of lemony curd.