Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I'm Holding onto Summer! And a Delicious Ricotta Tart Recipe.

Who can really believe that this weekend marks the end of Summer 2014?  Not me.  I am not letting go.  I'm not in school!  Labor Day means nothing to me. Spring and Summer are my favorite times of the year.  I adore the renewal of Spring, the growing of Summer, the Sun, the Heat, the Water, being Outdoors.  Oh, how it did it fly so fast yet again?

As a child - pretty much spending all of my summers at the shore - I remember those last days at the beach, not wanting to come out of the warm wonderful ocean, not wanting my sandy, wet, ice cream man ("Fudgie Wudgie") happiness to end.  Dad would always say, "It will be here next year".  And gloriously it was!

I'm writing this sitting in my garden which is lush to exploding.  There are tons of tomatoes - small and big - that have yet to take on color.  My eggplants are still coming in, as are my cucumbers.  I'm picking figs every day and more are starting up.  The okra is still coming in. The basil and the oregano and the thyme are huge.  The zinnias continue to flower.  Yet another dahlia is about to open.  The daylilies look marvelous.  How can you tell me that summer is over!?!?  No!  It just cannot be!

In truth I have, as a good grower, recently put in some Kale and Mustard and Salad Greens, Arugula and Spinach.  The Swiss Chard and Black Kale are thriving and probably will through Fall.  I have replanted those delicious French Breakfast Radishes.  I know that I need to get the garlic planted.   I'm resigned to the fact that as soon as next week we will have one of our marathon, "Canning Days" when we spend the entire day putting up tomatoes for red gravy, tomato puree & juice, jams, pickles, salsas, and relishes. We feel good as we fill our larder; our freezer is pretty much stocked to the top already.  We will congratulate ourselves on our readiness for the onslaught of colder weather and heavier meals. 

I know what the calendar is telling me.  I know what my brain is telling me.  And yet, what my heart is saying is what I want to hear.  'It's not over. There's so much more summer to go".  Oh, if only.

One Half of the Tart - Shared the other with my Neighbor!

Recipe:  Ricotta Cheese Tart with Nutella "Frosting"


One sheet of puff pastry

12+ ounces of fresh ricotta

1 cup of heavy cream

1 tablespoon of good vanilla extract

1/2 cup of sugar

Two large eggs

Approximately 4 - 5 ounces of Nutella - if you keep your Nutella in the refrigerator, take it out at least an hour before you make this recipe!  Nutella does not need to be refrigerated, FYI.

NOTE:  If you have Figs, they make a great and tasty garnish!  If not, no worries. 


Defrost the puff pastry according to package instructions

While the puff pastry is defrosting:

Whip together the ricotta, heavy cream, vanilla extract, sugar and eggs until the mixture is nice and fluffy

Keep the mixture cold until ready for use

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle  that will fit into a long tart pan (shape as shown in photo)

NOTE:  you will have "extra pastry dough" - you can build a thicker bottom crust or do strips of pasty across the top of the tart.  I went with a thick bottom crust.  Play with it.  It's easy and you can't particularly kill it!

Butter your tart pan - make sure you do the sides of the tart pan as well.  You want to avoid having your pastry stick to the sides!

After you get your pastry into the tart pan - bottom and sides - "dock" the pastry by using a fork to put a few holes in it randomly.

Put the tart pan and pastry dough into the 350 degree oven for about 5 - 7 minutes.

It will get slightly brown and puff up a bit (it's puff pastry!); just use the docking fork to knock it down.

Take the tart pan out of the oven, let it sit for a minute or two and then fill it with the whipped cheese mixture.  Be sure to spread the mixture out well over all of the tart surface, using a rubber spatula.

Bake the tart at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.  You want a bit of blond/light brown color on the cheese.

When you are happy with the tart, remove it from the oven and let it cool for at least 15 minutes.

When it cools, "frost" it with the nutella.  Spread it around liberally.  Top with sliced figs if you have them.  

Let the whole thing set up in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so.  

it's a very rich tart.  Small slices are really satisfying.