Thursday, January 6, 2011

White Ricotta Tart wth Sugared Fruit



Oh, January.  You are a chilly month.

Yesterday we had the kind of snow that makes mighty tree limbs bow in submission.  On days like this I'm perfectly content to spend long hours in an oven-warmed kitchen, and that's just what I did.  Many treats were made; some for the book and some for the blog.  I'm still determining where some should reside.  After much hemming and hawing about what to make for this entry, I decided to revisit an old recipe. 


I made this tart for Thanksgiving 2 years ago, and at the time decided it was a little too heavy (or maybe I was just miserably full after turkey and dressing... I digress).  This time, I used part skim ricotta for the filling and replaced the whole eggs with egg whites. What resulted is a light and fluffy filling that is beautifully pale and bespeckled with vanilla seeds.


I feel compelled to tell you that my husband asked for seconds.  This man will emphatically ask "what is that?" as he peers over my shoulder at my latest confection.  Let's just say, he's not a Matcha tea cheesecake kind of guy.  But this, he loved.

(NOTE:  For those interested, here's my latest Pixiq article 5 ways to improve your food photography, for beginners.)

The mini fruits are painted with meringue powder diluted in a little water.  I know many who use fresh egg whites for this, but I feel safer using something pasteurized. 

It's funny how I've gone from painting pictures to painting fruit!  Life is weird and wonderful.

What I once painted / what I paint now.
I've wanted to share my paintings with you for some time, but to be honest, most have been sold or given away.  I found this painting of Mary I started over 10 years ago rolled up in the corner of my closet.  Many paintings have since been completed, yet she remains an idea.  Seeing her again makes me want to pick up a paintbrush and finally finish what I started.  Who knows, in 2011, maybe I will!
 




White Ricotta Tart with Sugared Fruit
                                                                                                                              [click to print]
Tart shell:
1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Liberally butter a 11" tart or quiche pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt.  Pulse to combine.  Add butter pieces and pulse until fine crumbs form.  Add yolk, vanilla and water.  Pulse in quick bursts until dough forms a ball.  Press dough into buttered pan (flour hands if your dough is sticky). Chill shell for 40 minutes.

After chilling, prick the tart shell with a fork and bake for 20 minutes.  Let shell cool completely before filling.


Filling:
4 oz cream cheese, softened (low fat or no fat, if you like)
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups part skim ricotta cheese
3 egg whites
1 vanilla bean, seeds reserved and hull discarded


Combine softened cream cheese, ricotta, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Cream together with an electric hand mixer. Add egg whites and vanilla seeds.  Mix at medium speed until combined.  Pour into cooled tart crust and bake for 20 minutes.


Sugared fruit:
1 tbsp manufactured meringue powder
1/2 tbsp hot water
Your choice of mini fruits, I used seckel pears, cranberries, crab-apples, and white raspberries.
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Dissolve the meringue powder in hot water.  Stir well until no lumps remain.  Paint each fruit with a thin coating of the mixture and dip in granulated sugar.  Allow sugared fruits to dry on a wire rack.

Decorate tart as desired.




NOTE: Find my recent "Skillet Snickerdoodle" recipe here in my Project 365 set on Flickr.

47 comments:

Heather (Heather's Dish) said...

oh my goodness...you win! this is incredible!

NicoleD said...

So pretty! You paint, too? What a talented lady you are :)

Jessica @ How Sweet said...

I spied your sugared fruit on Facebook and have been waiting for it. I love this idea. So elegant.

Rosy said...

Such a beautiful photo my mouth is watering. I love the presentation of sugared fruit.

Caroline said...

Thanks for the 5 photo tips! I'm always trying to improve, but it's really difficult with no great windows in our house and the fact that most of my baking is done at night. That's my biggest issue right now. But I'm going to take your advice and just keep trying. I love how pretty and simple sugared fruit can be, and I defintely agree that I would personally use the meringue powder instead of egg whites.

Blog is the New Black said...

Beautiful pics!

Ali said...

This looks SO fantastic! Especially for those of us choosing lighter fares after the holidays.
Where the H-E-double hockey sticks did you find the white raspberries?! Those are beautiful!
Lovin' you're side projects on flickr and the photography tips, how you find the time?!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

So pretty and decorated in a refined way! I bet it tasted heavenly.

Cheers,

Rosa

Diane {Created by Diane} said...

Oh that looks so pretty! I'm sure it tastes delicious.

Kathleen said...

Heather this sounds really delish!

Mini Baker said...

that fruit looks so cute all sugared up!
-Mini Baker

Trisha said...

This tart looks gorgeous ... thanks for sharing!

Lili said...

Oh my, Heather, is there anything you can't do?! So glad you shared a glimpse of your art, what a little hold out you are. Should have known by now there was even more talent we had yet to discover from you. Oh and the sugared fruit atop that luscious yet light dessert tart is just so pretty. I had never seen white raspberries before. As usual everything is perfection. Now I'm off to read your food photography tips, you are so great to share them with us! xo ~Lili

Mara... said...

oooh, the sugar on the fruit is just sooo pretty!!! This looks like a great recipe. I love the photography. It's brrrrr cold here, too!!

Juliette said...

I have been looking for a ricotta tart recipe and this is looking like the one I'll have to try...if only ricotta wasn't so expensive here in Germany (what is up with that anyhow?)!

alana (at) the food said...

amazing tart...it's so beautifully white!
ricotta is expensive in canada too...but worth every penny!

Amy (Sing For Your Supper) said...

This is absolutely gorgeous!!

Evan Thomas said...

This has great presentation! And that filling looks good enough to eat with a spoon.

Lisa said...

Heather this looks beautiful - so etheral, I love your painting - I wish you would share more with us, wishing you well for the new year and hoping it brings you wonderful things to come

kaliseviltwin said...

gorgeous!! absolutely lovely!! not surprising you used to paint--you are truly an artist!

Jennifurla said...

You are so creative...off to see your picture tips.

Kimber said...

I love your posts...And I'm super happy to see one of your paintings on here! An artist across many mediums! And the tart sounds devine!!

Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather said...

Oh wow this looks amazing! I cannot get over how pretty that sugared fruit looks too.

Strictly Foodie said...

Absolutely gorgeous presentation! I'm sure it tastes even better than it looks!

www.strictlyfoodie.com

Amy at TheSceneFromMe said...

Oh my dessert goodness! This looks totally elegant and scrumptious!
It's almost too pretty to eat!

Stefania said...

E' una meraviglia, ciao

Lucy said...

Wow what an elegant dessert. So pretty and sounds delicious.

Leslie said...

You paint, cook and take amazing photos???? I am jealous!!! :)

baking.serendipity said...

The sugared fruit is the perfect addition to this tart! I too, love to spend cold, snowy days by the warmth of the oven. What a wonderful thing to come out of it. Stay warm!

chemo said...

nice post..
thank's for the information ^_^
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check it out

Sprinkles of Parsley said...

Wow this looks amazing- I especially love the sugared fruit! Beautiful post!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

amazing. wonderful.

And thank you!! for the link to your article about photography. Just got my dslr and am eager to read everything i can !

andreagroves said...

That tart looks divine! I especially love your painted fruit. And your painting, too! I had no idea you painted! Hmmm. White rasberries are new to me, I don't think I've ever seen these before.
All in all, a great post! Thanks!

marla said...

Heather - this tart is SPLENDID :) I feel like a little fairy looking at those sugared fruits. You are amazing girl. Love the ricotta cheese in there. xo

Maria said...

Gorgeous tart!!

CaSaundraLeigh said...

Not only is this a gorgeous tart, but simple, and I bet delicious too!! And I love how you could switch it up with various kinds of fruit!

Heather Ozee said...

She's beautiful. You must finish her! Hugs!

Sue said...

Your tart and sugared fruit are so beautiful! And your other art medium...WOW! INCREDIBLE! What an exceptionally talented individual you are! It never ends!

Joy said...

That is utterly beautiful. I wouldn't want to eat it.

Plateful said...

OMG, I'm in love with your pictures! Simply amazing!!Your creativity is also to be applauded. You make everything look so cool and inviting. I'm a totally new food blogger and I'm so inspired by your work. I hope to learn a lot from you...:) Thanks so much.

Rebekah said...

Your photography is great. I'm hoping over to check out your tips.
Your blog is lovely!

Ingrid said...

That is one dreamy tart and no, it doesn't have anything to do with my love of ricotta. :)
~ingrid

Ronnie Lavi said...

I love this recipe! It's perfect!
Just wondering what can I use instead of meringue powder for the sugared fruited? I live in Israel and I don't think we have meringue powder over here.

Patricia Scarpin said...

This is so amazing I don't even know where to begin - lovely! I would have loved the tart even without the adorable little fruit - yet it looks more amazing with them.

Mollie said...

I made it! It's FABULOUS! Thank you for sharing the recipe!
http://eatrunread.blogspot.com/2011/04/cake-of-week-white-ricotta-tart.html

Megan said...

absolutely stunning! the fruit look gorgeous and a ricotta tart sounds so good. i really cannot wait to try this when i can find some fruit on sale at my grocery store

Kristen Best said...

you are ridiculously gifted...seriously. Cannot wait for your book to come out.

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