I always think of an Italian grandmother when I make this ricotta tart — you know, the one who would bring you a perfectly scooped ice cream cone when you were at a sleepover, having just whipped up the ice cream and probably the cone as well. They were the ones who never had a recipe for anything; they just knew that a little bit of this and a little bit of that made something incredibly yummy. As I am not Italian, I have taken the liberty of replacing some of the traditional ricotta with cream cheese for a smoother texture. Small strawberries are best for this tart, but you can also use large strawberries if you slice them in half.
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- 1 cup (8 ounces) whole-milk ricotta
- 2⁄3 cup (6 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¾ cup (5 ¼ ounces) granulated sugar
- Seeds scraped from ½ vanilla bean
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 recipe Short Dough, baked in a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, cooled
- 3 dry pints (6 cups) strawberries, hulled, and halved if large
- ½ cup strawberry jam
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Using a handheld mixer with beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla bean seeds, salt, and nutmeg on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Stir in the vanilla.
Pour the filling into the prebaked tart shell and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes, or until the edges have puffed up but the middle is still quite wobbly. (Do not worry; as the tart cools, the center will firm up.) Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, then chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Just before serving, put the strawberries in a bowl. Warm the strawberry jam in small saucepan over low heat, then strain the jam over the strawberries and toss to coat. Arrange the berries on top of the tart and serve immediately. Alternatively, you could omit the jam and serve the berries alongside the tart.