The Mint Shop

The Mint Shop

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

A semi-pastiera in Cambridge

I was thinking just the other day that I don't seem to have obsessions. Any kind. I am still thinking hard. And somehow that makes me feel I'm a freak. Surely I should have one, shouldn't I?

I don't think that having to sleep on the right hand side of the bed counts. Nor needing to write with a black ink pen, or not breaking the spine of the book while I (or anyone else who has borrowed my books. No, in fact that is not possible either as I hate lending books to anyone exactly for the fear of witnessing that type of violence on them) reading it.

None of this seriously counts. These are simply choices, *preferences*. A bit like never eating the crust of the sandwiches or sipping tea to the last drop. I am talking about real obsessions. I'll give it more thought. In the meantime I go and have another slice of that heavenly cake my students made last night.

Oh but I suppose you want the recipe of it... all right, all right...

Ricotta tart

300g flour
70g sugar
120g butter
2 eggs
300g ricotta
90g sugar
50g butter
70g chocolate chips
70g candied fruit
70g raisin (optional)

1. Pre-heat the oven at C190.

2. Make the pastry. Melt the butter on a low heat - don't let it bubble (or even worse burn!). Set it aside to cool slightly.

3. Mix the sugar with the flour and make a well. Pour the melted butter in it, one egg, and mix quickly using first a wooden spoon and then simply the palm of your hand. Don't overwork it or it will become really dry and crumbly (which is what happened at first....panic!). Make a ball and wrap it with cling film. Set aside to set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

4. Make the filling (the best part). Mix the ricotta with the sugar, one egg, fruit and chocolate, and 50g of butter (also melted). Mix well and set in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you add the raisin, soak it in warm water (or marsala or any sweet wine) for at least 10 minutes and then squeeze and pat dry.

5. Once the pasta and the filling have been resting in the fridge, roll the pastry on a floured surface. Grease with butter a flan dish (20cm diameter) and then arrange the pastry on the bottom and sides of the dish making sure it is not too thick. You can also use some baking paper so that the cake once it is cooked can come off the tin.

6. Pour the filling in the pastry case levelling the surface. Make some strips with any remaining pastry and arrange them in a lattice form.

7. Cook the cake for 30-40 minutes. The ricotta must become firm and if you insert a tooth pick this has to be reasonably dry.


  1. lovely to taste your ricotta tart this afternoon Francesca: delicate and delicious reminded me of my beautiful country and its rich culinary tradition you are so talented at!

  2. Thank you Giulia! I've always had a soft spot for ricotta cakes...used to "order" it for every birthday! Glad you liked it!