Thursday 7 January 2010

Recipe: Ricotta & Ham Tart

Light and creamy, this tart is a superior form of Quiche Lorraine, where the texture of the cheese is much more unctuous than you find with its country cousin. Since the ricotta generally available these days is sadly lacking in flavour, however, in this recipe it really acts a vehicle for the other ingredients - hence, the quantity of garlic and parmesan, without which the end result risks being rather insipid.
Excellent as a lunch dish, or a starter.

For 1 x 8" tart.

Ingredients: Shortcrust pastry, made with 110g frozen butter, 135g '00' flour, approx 20 ml cold water, and a generous pinch of salt; 500g Ricotta; 4 Eggs; 100g diced Pancetta; 2 large Garlic cloves; 30g grated Parmesan; Salt & Pepper, to taste.


1. Heat the 0ven to 200 degrees C. Roll out and blind-bake the tart shell (ten minutes with weights inside, and a further ten minutes after the weights have been removed). Reduce the oven to 180 degrees C after the shell has been removed.

2. In a small skillet, brown the diced Pancetta over high heat. Add to the skillet the minced Garlic cloves and heat for a further minute, until the Garlic just begins to colour (if the Pancetta hasn't thrown off enough fat to fry the minced Garlic, then add either a little oil or butter to the skillet before you add the Garlic). Remove from heat.

3. In a food processor, combine the Ricotta, Eggs, and grated Parmesan, and season to taste.

4. Over the base of the baked pastry shell, distribute the Pancetta and Garlic, and then pour the Ricotta mixture evenly over the surface. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees C for about twenty five minutes, or until the surface just begins to colour.

Allow to cool slightly before serving, or else let the tart cool completely and serve it cold.

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