This recipe by Emiko Davies was presented in our first cooking class for 2017 and comes from her latest book, Acquacotta.
Ricotta crostata is loved throughout Maremma and in summertime you find baby pears (pere coscia) in all the local markets. This simple tart is not overly sweet and will be an instant favourite.
1rcpe Sweet Pastry (recipe follows)
100g caster sugar
1 lemon, zest only
1tsp vanilla extract
7 baby pears, peeled & poached (see note)
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 3mm thickness. Lay it over a 22cm pie dish & trim the borders. Prick the surface gently all over with the tines of a fork.
Combine the ricotta, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla & eggs & mix until smooth. Pour over the dough-lined pie dish & smooth over. Carefully push the pears into the ricotta filling & bake for 45 minutes or until the top is firm & slightly coloured golden brown & the pastry crust golden.
Let cool completely before serving and, if you like, just at the last moment sprinkle over some powdered sugar – this will mostly sink into the surface of the ricotta & the pears so you won’t see much of it but it will add a hint of sticky sweetness.
Store this tart in the refrigerator & eat within 2-3 days.
Note: If you can’t find baby pears, you can do this with regular pears. Choose firm rather than ripe pears, which hold their shape better. Peel & slice into quarters & remove the core. To poach the pears, slide them into a saucepan of simmering water with 50g sugar to add a touch of sweetness and cook for 15 minutes or until they are just tender. Remove pears & let cool.
For the sweet pastry:
100g caster sugar
125g cold butter, chopped
………………………………….pinch of salt
1 . egg yolk
Combine the flour, sugar & butter together in a bowl & rub together with fingers until there are no more visible pieces of butter. Alternatively you can pulse in a food processor.
Add the salt, whole egg & egg yolk & combine until it comes together into a smooth ball. Place in fridge to rest 30 minutes.