Crostata di Ricotta, Sicilian tart
There are sweets/pastries that I fall in love with because of their complexity, others because of their outward appearance, shaped or simply because of their simplicity. Today’s captivated me as soon as I saw its interior. A creamy, soft, uniform filling surrounded by a golden, crunchy dough… I didn’t need much more to go and see quickly that it was that wonder that had stolen my heart. And that’s how the crush between me and Crostata di Ricotta came about.
It is true that I usually like to make recipes that are somewhat more laborious or that require a more delicate and precise process. But this cake has reminded me again that simplicity is happiness. The same thing that happened to me with Galatopita or Molotof. Carrying it out has no complications, quite the opposite. All we need to do is make a frolla dough and a filling that just needs to be beaten and poured into the pan. Easy, isn’t it?
Crostata di Ricotta.
Crostata di ricotta also called “Cassata al forno” is a traditional sweet of Sicilian gastronomy and, like everything that has to do with Italy, it is amazing. Traditionally consumed at Easter, but you know that if something is good, we should enjoy it whenever we want.
To make it we only need to prepare a frolla dough and a filling of fresh ricotta flavored with orange and cinnamon. Flavors that remind us of the wonderful and unmistakable cannoli, and that soon I will have to leave you. Only with this description seduces us without the need for much more. But that’s not all.
The texture of the filling is soft, creamy, almost reminiscent of a mousse. The dough that covers all the filling is slightly crunchy, brittle, perfect to accompany that wonderful and aromatic inside. The particularity of this cake lies in the way it is made and how it is baked. By covering and sealing the entire cake, we will ensure that the interior made with ricotta remains very creamy.
Making it at home.
To carry it out we will only need to prepare two elaborations; the dough and the filling (the latter as simple as beating an omelette). To cook it we’ll need a round or slightly bell-shaped pan, which is the format I’ve seen most on Italian blogs. The recipe I share with you is adapted from the blog Tavolartegusto, thank you very much for this delight!
In my case I have used a round removable pan with a diameter of 8 inch/20 cm, a simple and common pan that we probably have at home. Or that we can easily replace. If it is removable it will be more comfortable when it comes to demoulding, but otherwise, you will have no problem if you cover it well with butter and flour.
Remember that this type of dough softens if the outside temperature is high or if we manipulate it a lot. Try to work with it quickly and always after having rested in the refrigerator. Another important point is to seal well the edges of the dough once we have placed it in the pan. In this way we make sure that the inside remains creamy after baking.
After baking it, and in spite of yourself, you will have to let it cool and rest in the fridge overnight so that the interior settles well and the flavors mature. You know that these things are always worthwhile 😉
Ingredients for a 8 inch pan
FOR THE DOUGH:
- 330 g AP/plain flour
- 165 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk from one large egg
- 130 g icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- one lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
FOR THE RICOTTA FILLING:
- 860 g sheep ricotta cheese
- 100 g icing sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/2 orange zest
- icing sugar
Make the dough.
- Sift the flour together with the baking powder, set aside.
- In the bowl of the kneader or KitchenAid add the butter together with the sugar, salt, vanilla and lemon zest. Mix with the flat beater until a creamy, smooth mixture is obtained.
- Add the egg and mix until it is completely integrated. Add the yolk and mix again until fully homogenized.
- Flip over the flour and mix with the flat beater until you obtain a uniform mixture with a soft texture. If our dough becomes too sticky to the touch, we can add 1-2 tablespoons more flour.
- Transfer to a clean work surface and knead the dough. We will do it doing the fraisagetechnique, as I show you in this video.
- Once we have our dough ready, divide it into two pieces. One of them should be smaller because we will use it to form a disc that covers the top of the pan.
- Wrap very well in film and refrigerate for 45-60 minutes.
Cover the pan with the dough.
- Line the base of the pan with paper. Grease the sides with butter and sprinkle with flour. Remove the excess and set aside.
- Remove the dough from the fridge, lightly sprinkle a work surface with flour and proceed to roll it. First stretch the dough that covers the inside of the pan.
- We will help ourselves of a roller and we will give a thickness of 0,20 inch/5 mm. Once the base is stretched, place it on the pan. We will try to adjust well the inside without manipulating the dough in excess so as not to transfer heat.
- Place the pan in the freezer while stretching the upper part.
- Roll the other dough giving a thickness of 0,20 inch/5 mm. Remember that it must slightly exceed the diameter of the pan.
- Place the disc in a tray lined with paper and refrigerate until we need to cover the cake.
Make the filling.
- Sift the icing sugar, set aside.
- Drain the Ricotta cheese. Place the cheese on a cotton cloth and press to remove the excess liquid.
- Pour into a large bowl and add the icing sugar. Mix with the whisk until completely homogenized.
- Add the vanilla together with the cinnamon and the orange zest. Mix again to distribute the ingredients evenly.
- Remove the pan from the freezer and pour the filling inside. Smooth the surface with a spatula or spoon.
Cover the tart.
- Remove the dough disc from the fridge and place it on the pan to cover the cake. Press the ends gently to seal the dough. With the help of a knife, cut out the excess dough.
- Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 355ºF (180ºC).
- Bake for 60 minutes. The dough should take on a nice golden color.
- At the end of baking the cake will swell a little, don´t worry, it's ok. After taking it out of the oven and resting, it will deflate.
- Once the baking is finished, take it out of the oven and let it cool completely on a rack.
- At this point, refrigerate the cake overnight before eating.
- The next day remove from the fridge and unmold carefully. The base of the cake will become the upper part, we will have to turn it over.
Place on a plate or dish where we are going to serve it and sprinkle the surface with icing sugar.
- The ricotta filling can be beaten with manual or electric whisk, so that we feel more comfortable working.
- It is also common to add candied orange in small pieces or chocolate chips in the filling. If you like it, the result will surely be fantastic.
- The cake can be served cold or at room temperature, as we prefer.
- Conservation: We can keep it refrigerated, stored in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
If you didn't know what dessert to prepare for this weekend, this Crostata di Ricotta can be a fantastic option. It's certainly the ideal dessert to finish a family or friends meal, but it's also fantastic to enjoy in the middle of the afternoon. Well, actually any time of day because it's spectacular.
I wish you a wonderful weekend, see you on Monday!