The Taste of Italian Summer: Lemon and Ricotta tart

Lemon trees here in the south, and especially on the Amalfi coast, are rightly famous and grow everywhere.  We have two in the garden which bear fruit for most of the year.  I was looking for a light Summer desert menu with a lemony zing and decided upon this simple but stunning tart from the Two Greedy Italians – Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo.  Both from near Naples, they cooked the dish outside on a terrace high above Amalfi.

The recipe uses candied cedro, a citrus fruit from the south of Italy, with pungent lemon zest sprinkled on the finished tart.   But you can use candied lemon peel too.  The result, as shown above, is a very light, delicate tart which is lovely either on its own or, as recommended by the cooks, with Summer poached pears.  This version is from the BBC website.

Ingredients

For the pastry
1 x 400g/14oz ready-made puff pastry
plain flour, for dusting
1 lemon, finely grated zest only

For the filling
300g/10½oz ricotta cheese
200g/7oz mascarpone cheese
200g/7oz candied cedro, roughly chopped
125g/4½oz caster sugar
6 free-range eggs, separated

Preparation method

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface to a 3mm/⅛in thickness. Use the pastry to line a 25cm/10in pastry case. Cover with a damp cloth while you make the filling.

In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, mascarpone and candied peel with 100g/3½oz of the sugar and five of the egg yolks until smooth and well combined.

Whisk the egg whites in another large, clean bowl until fluffy. Whisk in the remaining sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed.

Using a large metal spoon, fold the whites into the ricotta mixture, then pour into the pastry-lined tart tin.

Beat the reserved egg yolk in a bowl. Fold in the overhanging pastry and brush with the egg yolk.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through and the filling has a slight wobble in the centre.

Set aside to cool for two hours, then sprinkle with lemon zest.

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