Glazed Berry Tart with Sweet Ricotta Filling

This tart is a riff on my standard Glazed Blackberry Tart recipe, with an added sweet cheese filling and 100% local ingredients for our Northeast Dark Days gathering (Dark Days post to follow- stay tuned!).  This is a lovely tart to make in the winter, when fresh berries are still months away, yet you can relive the taste of summer with berries from the freezer.  It can easily be made with any frozen berries you have on hand, and a variety of fillings, including the sweet ricotta, a lime or lemon curd, a berry chiffon, or no filling at all, give you plenty of options to tailor the recipe to your taste.

The tart was good, but I think it would have been better with a little lemon mixed with the berries to accentuate the blackberry flavor. Next time I make it I will add in some lemon juice and zest to the berry glaze to punch up the flavor profile.

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Glazed Berry Tart with Sweet Ricotta Filling

INGREDIENTS

  • one recipe Rose’s Deluxe Pastry Dough
  • 1/2 egg white (for sealing pastry shell)
  • 1/2 lb ricotta cheese
  • 3 – 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3 – 4 tbsp strawberry puree (or substitute a soft-set strawberry jam)
  • 2 lbs blackberries (frozen)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups drained blackberry juice + water
  • 1/8 cup maple sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon (optional)

METHODS

  1. Make the pastry dough.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour and ideally up to 24 hours. 
  2. Roll and shape the dough.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour and ideally up to 24 hours.
  3. Thaw the berries. Place the berries in a large colander, over a bowl, and thaw for several hours at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator.  Reserve berry juice.
  4. Bake the tart shell.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (400 degrees F convection).  Line the tart shell with parchment paper (or a disposable coffee filter) and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice to weigh down the pastry.  Bake for 15 minutes; lift out pie weights, prick bottom of shell all over with a fork, then return to the oven and bake for another 5 – 7 minutes, until the pastry shell is a uniform golden brown.  Remove from oven, allow to cool for 3 minutes and brush lightly with the 1/2 egg white.  Cool completely.
  5. Make the filling. Whip together ricotta, maple syrup, honey and strawberry puree with an electric beater. Taste, adjust flavors, then refrigerate to firm up the filling.
  6. Make the berry glaze. Pour the reserved berry juice into a 2-cup measure.  Bring the total volume to 1 and 1/2 cups with juice, added fruit juice, or water.  Mix maple sugar and cornstarch together in a small saucepan.  Add berry juice mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, over medium heat.  The mixture will turn opaque, then, as it begins to boil, will thicken and become translucent.  Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly; remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl, and stir in the optional lemon juice & zest. Allow to cool completely at room temperature.
  7. Assemble the tart.  Lightly stir the ricotta filling so that it is smooth and uniform.  Spoon filling into the pastry shell, smoothing out to the edges with the back of a spoon.  Stir the berry glaze so that it is also smooth and uniform; add the glaze to the thawed berries, toss gently, then spoon berries on top of the ricotta filling (you may not use all of the berry filling; I had about a cup leftover).  Roll the berries carefully into an even layer, taking care not to get too much glaze on the edges of the tart crust. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to set.  Serve cool or at room temperature.

Serves 8.

OPTIONS

  1. Cream cheese would work as a substitute for ricotta.
  2. The tart was tasty, but a touch of lemon would have pumped up the berry flavor. I recommend adding lemon juice and/or zest to the berry glaze, if you are not cooking completely locally (or if you are lucky enough to have local lemons).
  3. If you yield limited juice from your berries, or want to use fresh berries, you can use commercial juice or frozen concentrated juice to make the glaze. See Glazed Blackberry Tart for the method.
  4. Strawberries or blueberries would be a good substitute for the blackberries. Raspberries don’t tend to thaw well, so are better suited for a puree or chiffon.

STORE

For 3 days in the refrigerator or 1 day at room temperature.

SEASON

This is best made in Winter with frozen summer berries.

LOCAL RESOURCES

  • Pastry flour: Wild Hive Farm, Clinton Corners, NY
  • Butter: Ronnybrook, Ancramdale, NY
  • Cider vinegar: homemade
  • Baking soda, salt: away
  • Egg white: Madura Farms, Goshen, NY
  • Ricotta: homemade from Arethusa Farm, Litchfield, CT (citric acid from away)
  • Maple syrup: homemade, Old Forge, NY
  • Honey: New England Farms, Granville, NY
  • Strawberry puree: homemade from Jones Family Farms strawberries, Shelton, CT (lemon juice from away)
  • Blackberries: Fishkill Farms, Fishkill, NY (frozen in August ’09)
  • Cornstarch: away
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