My first text bake of the Italian tart; Ricotta Crostata with sour cherries is like an Italian cheesecake pie. I was not disappointed. Smooth creamy ricotta filling with pieces of sour cherries with a soft spelt pastry shell. Versions of this Ricotta Crostata or Tart is usually around Easter and in Sicily made with chopped dark chocolate. I went creative by adding sour cherries.

Inspired by a ricotta crostata with spiced quince recipe by Natalie Paull, I went creative by adding my twist using spelt flour and a simplified ricotta filling dotted with sour cherries. Next time I bake this I might try Natalie Paull's idea of adding a polenta crust and adding a little more height to my filling. However, the vote at home was it was perfect as is.
Takes = pastry prep 10 minutes, chilling 30 minutes. about 2-3 hours plus overnight chilling.
Bakes = 50 mins, rest until cool in oven, the 8 hours in fridge.
Makes = 23cm pie for 10-12 serves

Spelt Shortcrust Pastry

  • White Spelt flour (or your choice) – 300g (2 cups)
  • Unsalted butter – 125g
  • Whole large egg – 2 (1 for egg wash)
  • Caster sugar – 80g ((1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • Chilled water – 1 to 3 tablespoons depending on what flour you have used

Filling*

  • Ricotta – 250g (you could add slightly more to have a thicker filling)
  • Large Egg
  • Caster Sugar – 80g (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • Frozen sour cherries, defrosted – 150g (1.5 cups)
  • Pinch cinnamon

Method

  1. PASTRY: add flour and chilled butter into a large bowl and work the butter into the flour using your fingertips until it resembles fine bread crumbs. Add egg and extra egg yolk. You could use your stand mixer with the paddle attachment if preferred. Remove from the bowl and knead until smooth throwing on lots of flour and you do this. Form a disc and wrap it in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes while you make the rest of the filling. Preheat oven, 180˚C fan-forced.
  2. FILLING: beat ricotta, egg, sugar and pinch of cinnamon.
  3. PASTRY divide the dough into 3; about 193g each. Use 2/3 (385g) of the pastry and roll out until you have a piece larger than 25cm and place in 23cm loose bottom tart tin. Brush base and edge with egg wash and trim off the excess.
  4. POUR half on the ricotta mixture then add in sour cherries then the balance of the ricotta mixture, smooth the top. Roll out the remaining pastry. Brush the edge with egg wash again if it has dried, gently place the pastry on top and trip. Don't forget this step as the pastry may not adhere to the base. Poke air holes on top with a fork then brush with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes at 180˚C fan, then lower to 150˚C for an extra 20-30 minutes. Cool in the oven with the door slightly open. Then once cooled completely remove the outside ring, cover and chill in the fridge overnight for at least 8 hours. The following day before serving sprinkle with a veil of icing sugar. Best served slightly chilled. We ate this on it's own and it was delicious.

Sue Maree P Baking Tips

  • my recipe has a thin layer of filling. If you'd prefer a thicker filling. Add more ricotta cheese. Maybe 500g of ricotta and 2 eggs.
  • this could also be made with my polenta shell crust. Double this recipe to have a top layer. Click below for the recipe.
How to Make A Polenta Tart Shell
This recipe is how to make a polenta tart shell that could be used for savoury or sweet-tart. My crunchy melt in your mouth polenta tart shell recipe is for one layer, however, double this recipe for a bottom and top. Using polenta makes this tart shell slightly healthier and light on the tummy.