CHOCOLATE CHERRY RICOTTA TART

 

I was recently gifted a massive box of super sweet cherries – the first of the season! I came up with this SUPER delicious chocolate cherry ricotta tart which reminds me so fondly of cannoli devoured in Sicily and the cherries, well cherries always make me think of Christmas (this tart would be oh so perfect at the centre of your Christmas table, by the way)! 

With a rich chocolate pastry, the tart has a baked ricotta mascarpone filling which is spiked with orange zest, cinnamon, dark chocolate and cherries! I topped the tart with whipped cream and whole cherries! If cherries are out of season, you could stir through drained morello cherries into the filling and simply top with shaved dark chocolate!

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MAKES 1 TART

FOR THE PASTRY

200g plain flour

60g icing sugar

35g cocoa powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

100g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

2 egg yolks, lightly beaten

 

FOR THE FILLING

375g firm ricotta

250g mascarpone

1 large egg

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

80g caster sugar

Zest of one orange

50g 70% chocolate, roughly chopped

170g pitted fresh cherries, halved (approx 200g whole)

 

TO SERVE

250g thickened cream, whipped

Zest of one orange

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease a 28cm-diameter-loose-bottomed tart tin. 

2. For the pastry, combine the flour, icing sugar, cocoa and cinnamon in a bowl in a bowl. Add the butter, and using your finger tips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until breadcrumb-like. Add the egg yolks and mix, using a spoon at first and then using your hands, until the pastry has come together. You can also use a food processor to make the pastry if you prefer, just be careful not to over work the dough once the eggs have been added! Wrap the pastry in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least one hour. 

3. While the pastry is resting, you can make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk the ricotta, mascarpone, egg, cinnamon, sugar and orange zest until smooth and well-combined. Gently stir through the chocolate and cherries and set aside until ready to fill the tart shell. If it's a super hot day, I would keep the filling in the fridge until just before you're ready to assemble.

3. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out on a clean surface to approximately 3mm thick. Gently lay the pastry into the tart tin, pressing into the sides and trimming the excess pastry. Line the pastry with baking paper and fill with pie weights. Blind bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and remove paper and pie weights. Reduce the oven to 160C.

4. Pour the filling into the tart shell and bake for 40-50 minutes or until filling is just set. There will still be a slight wobble in the centre. Don't worry, it will firm up once it's out of the oven. Cool completely in tin before removing. 

5. To serve, stir through the orange zest into the whipped cream and spread over the cooled tart. Liberally arrange the whole fresh cherries on top and serve. If not eating immediately, keep tart in the fridge and take out 30 or so minutes before serving.