Among Sicily's countless iconic creations is Ricotta. Derived from the Latin ‘recocta’ (“twice-cooked or re-cooked”) this creamy cheese is made by reheating the whey leftover from the production of cheese such as mozzarella and pecorino. Ricotta has become a popular component in desserts, similarly to other Italian delicacies such as Mascarpone. Join resident chef of I Corbezzoli and Cortile Pratolino, Selene Goretti, as she brings you her rendition of Ricotta & Pear Tart.
This dessert incorporates the use of Vin Santo, Tuscany's adored dessert wine with aromas of hazelnut and caramel. The shortcrust pastry's slightly crumbly texture contrasts wonderfully with the creamy filling of this tart. The cubed pear pieces provide their summery sweet flavour, which can be spiked with cardamom pods for a fragrant twist.
Ricotta & Pear Tart
Serves 12/14 slices - Cook in 2 hours with chilling time for the dough
- 300g spelt flour
- 200g butter, diced at room temperature
- 100g granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- Grated zest of lemon
- 300g fresh ricotta
- 50g icing sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 100ml heavy cream
- 2 pears, ripe
- 50g butter
- 2 cardamom pods (optional)
Start by preparing the shortcrust pastry. On a flat surface arrange the flour in the shape of a fountain, in the middle add: diced butter, sugar, egg, salt and grated lemon zest. Begin to mix the butter, sugar and egg in the centre, incorporating the flour a little at a time. Knead until you have a smooth and even mixture. Make a smooth ball, wrap with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
In the meantime, prepare the filling. Peel and cut the pears into cubes – half a centimeter on each side. Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan and cook pears on medium-high heat. Add a dash of Vin Santo and simmer until it evaporates. Pears must not be overcooked and should maintain a crunchy consistency. Leave to cool. Sift the ricotta through a sieve or a cheesecloth, and place in a large bowl. Sift the icing sugar, add to the ricotta and mix well using a hand whisk or electric mixer. Add the egg and cream, continue to mix well until you obtain a homogeneous, creamy mixture. Incorporate the pears and mix.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (°C). Roll out the pastry, placing it inside a non-stick cake pan lined with parchment paper. Bake the pastry for 10 minutes, and once cooled, fill the pastry shell with the ricotta and pear mix. Bake the cake on the lower part of the oven at 170 degrees Celsius (°C) for 20-25 minutes. To prepare the Vin Santo reduction, gently crush the cardamom and add to a saucepan with the remaining Vin Santo. Cook on a low heat, allowing the mixture to reduce. Once it thickens, remove from the heat, strain, and cool. Serve the cake at room temperature with the Vin Santo reduction on top. Buon Appetito!