This is me again, and while stationed in northern Italy, I found the sweets there were much more to my liking. Yes the pies and cakes are sweet but nowhere near the sugar load you find at your local grocery store bakery!
So today you will travel with us to Florence Italy, wherein 2005 Karen and I took a cooking class in a house filled with the rich history of Renaissance, on a hill overlooking Florence. The Italian name that our cooking school teacher gave it was Crostata di Ricotta, which is what we are cooking today. It has a particularly delicious sweet crust, with a wonderful filling that is different from usual American fillings.
First, we met our cooking teacher at the Mercado Santo Ambrogio (east market of Florence) in Piazza Ghiberti. At first, we were surprised she knew who we were, but looking around we saw we were the ONLY Americans in sight! The market has an air-conditioned building for the meats and cheeses with all the products under an open roofed area around it.
She took us through the market filled with fresh produce and tantalizing earthy aromas, showing us how to spot the best ingredients for our class. Next, we entered the meat market filled with freshly butchered and cured meats, salamis, prosciuttos and mouth-watering cheeses of every kind.
Here we bought the last of our ingredients then followed her out of Florence to the hill where her house was built in the 1400’s. When we bought the class we could select either the cooking school in Florence or her house; the house looked more interesting. Now about the hill, it didn’t exist until a popular architect and some merchants with the means to build the hill; this was done so their houses could overlook Florence! The outside of the house is typical understated Italian while the inside was pure eye candy with murals on the ceiling depicting the travels of Marco Polo.
Now to the class. We first made this Incredible pastry crust for the tart as it has to be wrapped in plastic and set in the refrigerator for one hour. Next the pasta was made, wrapped and set aside for the ravioli di Zucca (yummy butternut squash, to be posted later) then the main meal (yummy chicken with potatoes and yes, posted later) was started.
As the meal cooked, we started on the tart shell by rolling out the pastry to about 1/8 inch thickness. Setting aside ¼ of the pastry for the lattice topping, we loaded the remainder into a ten-inch tart pan then put it into the freezer for 15 minutes. The shell was then cooked in a preheated 375 degree F. oven for 15 minutes so the crust would be light and crisp. While the shell cooked, the filling was made, the shell retrieved and filled, the lattice work was carefully put one top, then sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon sprinkled on top, and last, an aluminum foil “collar” was placed on the crust rim to keep it from over browning, and put back into the oven for 25 minutes.
As with most Italian cooking, the ingredients are simple and the finished product easy to make and yummy. Give it a try, you’ll be glad you did and maybe, just maybe, you’ll want to take that trip to Italy you have promised yourself!
If you make my Crust for a Ricotta Cheese Tart Recipe, be sure to take a photo and tag me @onlinefoodblog on Instagram or Twitter. I would love nothing more than to see your creations!
Tart Pastry: 1 cup unsalted butter ½ cup sugar 2 egg yolks pinch of salt Filling: 1 pound Ricotta 4 tablespoons sugar ¼ cup heavy cream 3 tablespoons brandy 1 teaspoon vanilla ¼ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon nutmeg pinch of salt For Tart Pastry: For Filling: Try out our Crust for a Ricotta Cheese Tart Recipe and post your results below in the comments…
How to make Crust for a Ricotta Cheese Tart
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 pound Ricotta
4 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt
For Tart Pastry:
Try out our Crust for a Ricotta Cheese Tart Recipe and post your results below in the comments…