Crostata di Ricotta (Honey Ricotta Tart)

Author Mary Cech says that “the abundant earthy and dairy flavors in this tart call for medium-bodied wine with notes of honey and orange blossom. It pairs well with both Ice Wine and Vin Santo. Orange Muscat brings out the tart’s subtle orange flavor.” We recommend that you add a local twist to the tart: use Arizona orange blossom honey and the zest from our fine local citrus. Pair the tart with an Orange Muscat such as Quady’s Essencia ($13.99) available from local wine stores including AZ Wine Company, Sportsman’s Fine Wine and Spirits, and AJ’s Fine Foods .
February 15, 2006

Instructions

To make the crust: Process the butter, 3 tablespoons sugar, egg yolk, and salt in a food processor, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as needed. Add the flour and cornmeal and pulse just until combined. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 2 to 3 times to bring the dough together into a ball. Press the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic film, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack near the center. Briefly knead the dough on a floured surface, then roll it into a 12-inch round, keeping the work surface, dough, and rolling pin all well floured and moving the dough frequently to prevent it from sticking. Work quickly, handling the dough as little as possible to keep it cool.

Wrap the pastry loosely around the rolling pin and then unroll it over a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, draping the pastry over the pan to center it. Push the pastry firmly into the bottom and sides of the pan, using dough scraps to patch any tears. If you find this soft dough difficult to work with, either chill it again or press pieces of the dough into place in the pan. Roll the pin firmly over the top of the pan to trim the edge neatly. Bake the crust for 20 minutes; it will not be fully baked. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Leave the oven on.

While the dough bakes, make the filling: Pulse the ricotta, cream cheese, cream, sugar, eggs, egg yolk, honey, orange zest, and vanilla in a food processor until completely smooth.

Pour the filling into the partially baked crust and bake until the filling is set, with golden brown spots dotting the surface, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool until it is room temperature. When it is cool, remove the sides of the pan and transfer the tart with the base to a serving platter. Cut the crostata into wedges with a sharp knife and serve at room temperature.

*Reprinted with permission from The Wine Lover’s Dessert Cookbook, Recipes and Pairings for the Perfect Glass of Wine by Mary Cech, 2005 Chronicle Books, LLC, San Francisco, CA.

Ingredients

Crust
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup fine cornmeal
Ricotta Filling
  • 15 ounces (1 3/4 cups) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 ounces (1/3 cup) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated zest (from about 1/2 orange)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
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