Thursday, July 16, 2015

Gluten Free, Or Not, Strawberry Ricotta Tart with Strawberry Balsamic Glaze.

Strawberry tart #glutenfree

   I grew up with a liking for a lot of stuff that other kids my age wanted no part of. Why? My mom shopped the sales.  Pigs feet one dollar a pound? She'd buy em, we'd eat them. Vegetables not many people were interested in became my favorite. She never was part of the dented can, eat past the expiration date crowd, (though I knew some of those and yes, they're still alive). The one thing this frugal shopping left me with was a taste for sales of any sort. So when our local Whole Foods announced a sale of organic strawberries 2 lbs for 3 bucks, of course I was there. What a deal! I started thinking about things I might do with the berries. Should I make jam, shortcakes again, ice cream? Then my problem was solved for me when a close friend of ours who has a gluten allergy suggested we get together. "I'll bring the dessert!" I said and I suddenly knew just what I wanted to make.

   This recipe for a strawberry ricotta tart started out as a recipe I saw for a regular strawberry tart made with mascarpone cheese, strawberries, and port wine. I thought why not make it a bit lighter with ricotta, and instead of Port wine, (which I didn't have). I'd use Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar from Sonoma Harvest. I used my special blend of gluten-free flour for the crust, but you can use any type of gluten-free flour, or regular flour if there are no allergies involved.

   I made the ricotta myself which is pretty dang easy. It's also easy to just pick up a carton. If you'd like to make your own  ricotta my recipe is here.

Anyway, whether you make your own or use store bought, this is a pretty quick recipe to make. So let's get to it.

Strawberry Ricotta Tart 

Here's What You Need: 

For the Tart:
1 1/4 cups of flour, (regular or gluten free) plus a bit more for dusting
3 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
7 Tbs unsalted butter chopped up
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbs ice water

For The Filling:
1 1/2 lbs cleaned  trimmed and halved strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups of ricotta (16 oz) If you are using my recipe for ricotta double it to have enough for this recipe
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp grated fresh lemon zest
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 10 inch tart pan  with a removable bottom,
pie weights or dried beans or rice

Here's What To Do: 


Preheat the oven 375 degrees, with the rack in the middle.
Blend your flour, sugar, butter, and salt in a bowl with a pastry blender, or do as I do and mix it together with a couple of pulses of a food processor. (much easier)
Blend it until you have a mealy mix. Set it aside

In a small bowl mix together the egg yolk, vanilla, lemon juice and ice water.
Drizzle this mixture over the flour mixture and pulse it until you have dough.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 times.
Shape it into a 5 inch disc and put it in the center of your tart pan.
Cover it with plastic wrap, and then using your fingers, push and spread the dough around the bottom and sides of the pan until they're covered.
Take a fork and prick the dough all over with a fork  through the plastic wrap, then stick the whole thing in the freezer to firm up for 10 minutes.

Take the tart shell out, peel off the plastic wrap and line the tart shell with aluminum foil.
Fill it with pie weights or beans.
Bake the tart until the sides are set and the edges are pale golden. This takes about 20 minutes.
Carefully take the foil and pie weights out of the tart and pop it back into the oven until it's a deep golden color, another 20 minutes more.
Cool the tart in the pan for about 45 minutes and remove the ring.

Stir the strawberries together in a bowl with the granulated sugar and let it sit for about 30 minutes, then strain the juice out of the berries.

Place the juice in a small pot and set it aside.
Whisk the ricotta together with the powdered sugar...

...lemon zest...

...lemon juice...

...vanilla and a pinch of salt.

Beat everything together until it's nice and stiff.

Spread the ricotta mixture into the tart shell...

...and spread it around.

Fill the tart shell up.

Meanwhile back at the strawberries....
Add 1/2 cup of Strawberry balsamic vinegar to the juice fro the macerated berries.

Pour it in and stir it around.

Bring this mixture to a boil then turn it down to a simmer and simmer away until it's reduced. This takes about 15 minutes or so.
Stir this every now and then so nothing burns. The syrup is done when it's thickened.
Arrange the sliced berries on top of the ricotta cheese.

You want a nice pile in the center.

When you've got them where you want them, drizzle the thickened balsamic glaze over the berries.

And serve it up!

  the berries and the glaze should be put on the tart right before serving to avoid bleeding of juice into the ricotta base. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it just looks prettier. 
   This is a great dessert for the gluten-free crowd, and it works just as well using regular flour. You can also try a variety of berries on this dessert. Just use what ever's freshest. Coming up next, chaat for a crowd and a great way to serve it, thanks to Restaurantware! Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

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