Let me give you one of those classic Italian cakes which never goes out of fashion.
I have always loved my ricotta tart which is, let's say, the Italian version of a cheese cake. With plenty of flavour, this is a filling and satisfying tart. I had it in the garden today with my guests with a good cup of espresso.
I have been enjoying going to visit small Italian artisan producers and farmers which produce good quality food, not mass produced. I am a strong believer in supporting small businesses and good quality food as after all, we are what we eat.
- Prep Time : 45 minutes
- Cook Time : 60 min +10 min for the custard minutes
Make the pastry by putting the flour in a heap on your work surface. Make a hole in the middle and add the egg, vanilla essence and sugar
Add the cold diced butter and with a fork mix it in well with the other ingredients. Then working with your hands combine the ingredients well together and make them into a ball
With your hands (or with the help of a rolling pin if you prefer) lay the dough in a greased circular mold. Whilst you prepare the filling put it in the fridge
Make the custard by bringing the milk to the boil with the vanilla pod (split and scrape its seeds into the milk first).
Whisk the yolks with half of the sugar until pale and creamy. Add the flour and stir well in
Slowly add the hot milk ( take the vanilla pod out first) always stirring and then bring the mixture slowly to the boil.
Keep stirring all the time and let it boil for 5 minutes until it has thicken
Let the custard cool down then in a large bowl add the ricotta, the sultanas, the lemon zest and juice and a dash of liquor.
Beat the egg whites with the leftover sugar until firm
Gently stir them in with the mixture
Pour the mixture onto the pastry
Cook on the lower rack of the oven at 190C for about 60 minutes. The tart should have a nice golden look. If it overflows during cooking turn the temperature down to 170C.