Tuscan Ricotta Tart with Peaches. I’ve met so many incredibly talented and lovely people through Instagram. That’s where I first found Giulia Scarpaleggia (and her website Jul’s Kitchen), who lives and cooks in Tuscany. Her food is gorgeous and when she told me she had a cookbook coming out, I couldn’t wait to see it. The book is a beautiful guide to the Markets of Tuscany and the recipes they inspire, including this fresh ricotta tart (I added the peaches for a summer twist). The flavors are a classic combination from this region. I adore the food, the people, the terrain, the wine and the sweets of Tuscany. I’ve often fantasized about moving abroad and the Italian countryside is always first on the list.
This ricotta tart, caught my eye when I was flipping through the pages of Giulia’s book. Her tart, which she calls, Torta Squisita “exquisite cake”, is made with ricotta (I made it from scratch, which is so easy), chocolate, candied orange peel and a star anise flavored liqueur. It is quintessentially Italian. I happen to have some juicy, perfectly ripe peaches sitting on the counter, so I decided to top the tart with them. It is super tasty and an ode to summer, but it would be just as good without the peaches, served with a strong cup of coffee.
Peach Ricotta Tart inspired by Giulia Scarpaleggia’s From the Markets of Tuscany: A Cookbook
recipe graciously shared by Giulia
For the pastry:
150g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
150g (3/4 cup) sugar
1 large egg
300g (2 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
zest of 1 lemon
For the ricotta filling:
400g (1 2/3 cups) ricotta cheese – recipe below
100g (1/2 cup) sugar
3 large eggs
150g (5oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
100g (3 1/2oz) candied orange zest (I used the zest of 1/2 a grapefruit, because that’s what I had on hand. It was lovely, but I am excited to make it with candied orange as well.)
1/4 cup Sassolino liqueur (or Strega or Vinsanto) (anise flavored liqueur)
3 peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into thin sectioned
To make the tart dough:
Mix the butter and sugar until well combined in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the egg. Incorporate the flour, zest, and salt. Mix until just combined. Press into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Roll out the dough and fit to a Fluted Tart Pan, 10 Inches by 2 Inches, freeze the tart shell until ready to fill.
Preheat oven to 400°F
Make the filling:
Combine the ricotta (see recipe below) with the eggs and sugar. Add the zest, chocolate and liqueur. Pour the filling into the prepared tart shell. Top with sliced peaches. Bake for about 50-55 minutes or until the ricotta filling is set and caramelized.
Allow the tart to cool in the pan for about 30 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely before refrigerating. Serve cool or at room temperature.
2 quarts whole milk (I feel strongly that this recipe is best with full fat milk. The texture of ricotta made with skim milk is too rubbery and not as luxurious).
1 cup heavy cream (just to make sure you get a great texture. Trust me, it’s awesome.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
Heat the milk and cream to boil, stirring the whole time. Reduce heat and add lemon juice. Stir while it simmers and watch the curds develop. Continue stirring for 2-3 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth. Let sit in cheesecloth for an hour. Cover the refrigerate for up to a week.