I am a child of the 80's. A time, before the "organic-health movement", when there was lots of "merendine" around: those industrial mini packaged cakes so popular in Italy at the time. They were everywhere, children would take them to school as a morning snack and parents would happily hand them out at any time of the day thinking they were giving their children something healthy. To be fair there was also less choice in those days and people were not aware of the preservatives, additives and trans fats in food.
All of this to say how much I used to remember those mini chocolate tarts made by "Mulino Bianco" a big make at the time. The treats you had as a child will always be impressed on your taste buds!
Having been living in the UK for some time now I could not resist the temptation of buying a packet in an Italian deli a few days ago. To my disappointment I realised I did not like them as much as I used too. Your tastebuds change as an adult.
That's why I decided to make one myself. Nothing could beat homemade pastry which combined with chocolate makes this tart really addictive. The spider web is inspired by Halloween.
- Prep Time : 45 minutes
- Cook Time : 50 minutes
Make the shortcrust pastry by combining the flour, egg, vanilla essence, sugar and cold diced butter.
Work quickly with your hands to make a smooth dough
Grease a round baking tray with some oil. Flatten the pastry with a rolling pin and lay 3/4 of the pastry over the mould. You can just use your hands if you find it difficult with the rolling pin. Pierce the pastry with the fork all over the bottom
Put the chocolate in a heat resistant bowl and place over a sauce pan with simmering water. Stir from time to time until the chocolate has completely melted
In a bowl stir the ricotta, egg, sugar and add the melted chocolate too. Stir well and pour it over the pastry in the mould leveling it well
With the remaining pastry make 4 small cylinders and lay them crosswise over the tart
Now make some more smaller cylinders and lay them over the tart to look like a web
Make two balls, one bigger than the other to make up a spider which you will put at the centre of the web. You can make the legs with some blanched almonds.
Cover the tart with some baking foil for the first 25 minutes of cooking to avoid the pastry burning on top. Then take the foil off and to finish cooking it.
Bake at 180C for about 40 minutes.