Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ricotta Fig Tart


More figs you say? But if you have followed me for a while, you would know that I am a big fan of this versatile fruit (see here, here, here, and here). I could eat figs every day, and now that the season of fresh figs is over I can still get my daily fix with dry figs if I need to. A neighbor has a fig tree she doesn't pick (what's wrong with her?), and I mean to contact her to see if I can do pick it for her and share the bounty, I think there are still a few on the branches. Figs and I go way back, and one of the favorite things to eat as a child where these huge, soft, drenched in corn start, figs my dad used to bring home. I owe my dad a lot of things, my love for eating is one of them.


I haven't made this tart in ages, not sure why since it is one of my favorites. I was trying to think of something new to try with ricotta, my favorite cheese to bake with, to increase my chances of winning the cheese guide and cookbook Sweet Charity is giving away. After a little search in my ever growing stack of cookbooks, I realized that many ricotta recipes were either for Easter cakes, or where kind of boring. I also remembered I still had some extra pasta frolla in the fridge so I opted to make this tart, which you have to give it a try, it is delicious! I suppose that if you are not a fan of figs (how is that even possible?), you could substitute other dried fruit, like plums, or cherries for the figs.


This recipe comes originally from my first ever cookbook I bought in the States, Spago Desserts, which I purchased shortly after moving from Venice to Santa Monica, and is one that has given me few wonderful recipes. I haven't changed the filling of this tart since I think it is perfect the way it is, but I don't use a brioche dough as the base like the book calls for. The brioche didn't work so well the first time I tried it (probably due to my inexperience with yeast doughs), and I think the tart is better and more elegant with a buttery pate sucree. This recipe introduced me to one of my favorite spices, cardamom, a spice I had never used or seen in Italy. After smelling it and tasting it in this wonderful tart I have become a total cardamom addict, I use it a lot, and one of my favorite ways to enjoy it is as an ice cream flavor, in Cardamom Ice Cream.


Make ahead notes:

*When making this tart, plan ahead, since the figs need to be reconstituted in liquor, and the tart is best served chilled. Don't skip the orange zest as it is a match made in heaven with the cardamom and it add a great dimension to the tart.

*If you can't stand the blandness of store bought ricotta, try making it at home with this recipe, it is easy and really superior to the store variety. I would also use whole milk ricotta, not the low fat or fat free versions, the end result will not be the same.

Ricotta Fig Tart
adapted from Spago Desserts

shell:
pasta frolla or pate sucree

filling:
3/4 pound dark dry figs (I use black mission)
3/4 rum or armagnac
3/4 pound whole milk ricotta
3 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
3 table spoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
pinch of salt

topping:
2 TBS almond meal
1 TBS sugar

Roll the dough to a 1/4" thickness, and transfer it into a 10" tart shell. Cut the dry figs in half, and marinate them in rum or Armagnac, until needed. In a large bowl mix the cheeses until smooth, add the sugar and mix until smooth. Add the whole eggs and the yolk, one at a time. Add the lemon juice, orange zest, extract, cardamom and the salt. Mix just until combined. Poured the filling into the tart shell. Drain the figs and arrange onto the filling, without letting them sink. Bake in a 350F pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes, then add the almond meal mixed with the sugar. Keep baking until the filling is firm to the touch and lightly golden, another 20 minutes or so. Cool on a wire rack and then chill until ready to serve.

13 comments:

Sweet Charity said...

Yay!! You totally score another two entries in the giveaway!! Also, thanks for the mention~ very kind of you. I adore ricotta and love it when it's used in desserts! I'm definitely feeling the combination of dried figs and ricotta in these tarts- looks perfect for autumn.
Oh yeah, just so you know, I did get both of your comments for these tarts but only published one (which was kinda silly since it counts for two entries, oh well)...

Nancy/n.o.e said...

Well, I don't know if you'll win the cookbook Sweet Charity is giving away, but you just won the one that I'm giving away! Congratulations!! Please email me your postal address and I'll order Ad Hoc from Amazon to be sent directly to you. My email is: nancy (dot) o (dot) ewing (at) gmail (dot) com

enza said...

che tu potessi vincere il libro era fuori da qualsiasi dubbio.
che io usi la ricotta anche nel cheesecake shhhhh non dirlo ai tuoi amici americani.
in effetti è vero, dopo aver letto l'aggiornamento del feed con il titolo della ricetta ho pensato anche io: more figs?

Laura said...

Enza, mi fai ridere come sempre. Ma metticila la ricotta, ma non dirlo agli americani perche' non la capiscono, cream cheese si ma la ricotta non la mangiano. Prova questa crostata, e' buonissima!

Simona said...

I cannot think of having a fig tree and leaving the fruit unpicked. Anyway, your tart is beautiful!

Rose said...

This tart is PERFECT! Two of my favorite flavors, ricotta and figs. Just beautiful Laura!

Laura said...

Charity, I will have to check what people have written on the comments. Thanks for your give away, waiting for the draw....

Nancy, I am so happy to be the winner. I will review the book as soon as I get my hands on it. Thanks!

Simona, yes, can't get how people won't pick the fruit from their trees, especially figs! I hope you are well, and can't wait to chat again. When are you visiting the bay area again?

Rose, thanks for stopping by, and I am glad I am not the only one who likes ricotta and figs together.

Mimi said...

Gorgeous tart. I love figs too. If I had a neighbor with a fig tree, I'd be climbing the fence to get at them!

Karine said...

Your tart looks decadent! Thanks for sharing :)

Laura said...

Mimi, I am glad I am not the only one crazy for figs.

Karine, thanks for stopping by!

Jill said...

Another recipe to add to my collection--I love figs and this tart looks so good!! :)

lisamichele said...

OMG Lauara, I haven't been here in a while!! How could I forget my Tiramisu girl? That said, this tart is MINE..I just bookmarked it. The thought of figs and ricotta is making me drool like mad, (great filling for a cannoli too!), and it looks gorgeous. Beautiful photos too! Thank you for posting this..it's on my 'to bake' recipe for holidays!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That tart looks mighty delicious! Ricotta tarts are wonderful!

Cheers,

Rosa

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