CROSTATA DI RICOTTA

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CROSTATA DI RICOTTA  If you’re accustomed to creamy New York–style cheesecakes, this relatively dry ricotta tart might be a surprise, but it has a subtlety that I love. It goes perfectly with a post-meal shot of espresso or an after-dinner drink such as anisette or limoncello.

  • Yield: 10 Servings

Ingredients

FOR THE DOUGH
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 10.125 cups all-purpose flour
FOR THE RICOTTA FILLING
  • 2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, seeds
  • removed, pod reserved for another use
  • 1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
FOR THE FRUIT TOPPING
  • 4 Seckel pears, 3 of them peeled, cored, and halved
  • 1 375ml bottle port
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 juniper berries
  • Zest of 1 orange, removed in strips with a vegetable
  • peeler, with no pith
  • 5 star anise pods
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, seeds removed,
  • seeds and pods reserved
  • 3 fresh figs, quartered
  • ¼ cup diced dried figs
  • 3 clusters seedless red grapes
  • 6 mint leaves
How to Make It
  1. o make the dough: Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream until the mixture lightens in color and becomes fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing until all the yolks are incorporated. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated, taking care not to overmix.
  2. Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment paper. Top with another sheet of parchment paper and roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Transfer the parchment-wrapped dough to a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or preferably overnight.
  3. When ready to bake the tart, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.
  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and peel away the top sheet of parchment paper. Cut the dough into a 12-inch round and lay the dough in a 10-inch tart mold, allowing the excess dough to hang over the edges. Gently fit the dough into the mold and use a paring knife to trim the edges of the dough. Line the dough with foil, fill the center with pie weights (dried beans or uncooked rice can also be used), transfer the tart pan to the oven, and bake until the tart shell is golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the tart shell from the oven, carefully remove the foil and weights, and cool completely. (Leave the oven on.)
  5. To make the ricotta filling: Put the ricotta, heavy cream, honey, salt, vanilla bean seeds, eggs, egg yolks, and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix for 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into the tart shell and cover with aluminum foil. Return the tart to the oven and bake until the center is set, 30 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile to make the fruit topping: Combine the halved pears, port, sugar, juniper berries, orange zest, star anise, and vanilla bean and seeds in a large pot, bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook until the pears are tender but still holding their shape and easily pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the pears through a fine-mesh strainer set over a heatproof bowl. Return the poaching liquid to the same pot, set over high heat, bring the liquid to a boil, and continue to boil until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Let the reduced syrup cool slightly. Meanwhile, peel the remaining pear and scoop small balls out of it with a small melon baller or other small scoop.
  7. Unmold the tart and brush with the reduced poached-pear syrup. Decorate the tart with the poached and fresh pears, fresh and dried figs, grapes, and mint leaves.
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