Translation: Ricotta and Bittersweet Chocolate Crostata
Recipe: (Williams-Sonoma’s “Rustic Italian”)
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) granulated sugar
- Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 2 large eggs
- 1 lb fresh sheep’s milk ricotta or well-drained whole cow’s milk ricotta
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream, plus 2 tablespoons
- 8 oz best-quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
First of all, I will have you know that I did not label this recipe “moderate” due to today’s unique…”baking circumstances”…but I will tell you that it is INCREASINGLY difficult to master an already more challenging crostata when your 6 month old demands THIS throughout the entire process:
(as found on p. 194 of Williams-Sonoma’s “Rustic Italian”)
“In a food processor, combine the flour, granulated sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the eggs and process just until the dough begins to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and kneed it briefly. Divide the dough in half and pat into 2 disks. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and freeze for another use. Roll out the remaining disk into a 12-inch round.
Carefully transfer the dough to a 10-inch round tart pan, gently pressing it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim the overhanging dough flush with the top of the pan sides. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator. Using a fork, prick the bottom of the crust in a few places. Bake until the edges are just beginning to turn golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Leave the oven on.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and stir to mix.
Spoon the mixture into the crust. Bake until the filling is set, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to the wire rack and let cool to room temperature.
In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and cocoa powder. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the 1 cup cream until bubbles form around the edges. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the mixture is glossy, dark, and smooth.
Carefully spread the chocolate topping over the cooled filling, starting in the middle and creating a thick layer that stops just short of the crust. Refrigerate the crostata until thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours. Remove the sides from the pan and place the crostata on a serving platter. Let stand for 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.”
If, and I repeat IF, you follow the directions to a T, then this crostata should be flawless.
What DIDN’T work:
If you do NOT follow the directions to a T, then you will have a chocolate mess on your hands. When they say to “chill for at least 2 hours”….they mean it….trust me….
Also, ummmm…..remember when I said HERE that I tend to be a little skeptical when it comes to store bought pie crust…? Yeeeeah… I should have taken my own advice…HOWEVER, I was in a rush blah, blah, blah, and thought that I could cut corners (no pun-intended) by simply using a store bought crust instead. Wrong, wrong, wrong…all wrong. Not only did it not work, it also left my crostata tasting far more salty that it otherwise would have.
Listen mama, I don’t care what you say, I’m using a store bought pie crust; I’m not a french pastry chef for goodness sake!
To that I say, OK! IF you decide to still go the store bought pie crust route here is how I would curb the saltiness: To your ricotta mixture add a dash more vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon more of confectioners’ sugar, and the zest of an orange (they are sweeter than lemons).
Also, I would consider using an 8oz best-quality milk chocolate bar instead of bittersweet. However, that depends more on your own preference and desired savoriness (is that a word?) of this tart. TIP: you can also serve this with a side of vanilla ice cream which too will increase the sweetness of this dessert.