I love living in the inner city for a whole lot of reasons, but particularly for the food. I am surrounded by great delicatessens, fresh produce markets and smaller gourmet supermarkets and it makes it so much easier when I need to buy specialised or imported ingredients to cook with. I love being able to occasionally walk down the street with a shopping basket and buy ingredients just for that day – it feels a little bit like living in a village in Italy. Last weekend I visited the new(ish) local grocer Wild Things food. What a gorgeous local shop – they focus on organic and healthy, tasty real food. They had a great selection of dates (I didn’t know there was more than one type…) and organic imported pine nuts, which really got me interested. I have been looking for Australian pine nuts in shops for a few years, or failing that, organic imported ones. So I happily bought quite a large bag (I adore them in so many recipes) and went home to search for a new recipe to use them in. I found this recipe for a tart with pine nuts in Manger, Mimi Thorisson’s blog about life in Medoc, France.
I wouldn’t call it a French recipe though, it is more of a European recipe. It is particularly appealing as it uses lemons (and I have tons of these from mamma’s garden) and ricotta as well as pine nuts. What a brilliant combination! And it is lovely to look at too. The consistency of the filling is more like a honied, creamy lemon curd rather than a ricotta cake. The base had almond meal in it and it is simply delicious. This is a rather rich dessert, perfect for a special occasion and would go well with a glass of sticky wine. It is a GREAT cake to have in your dinner party repertoire.
Pine nut, ricotta and lemon tart
base: 240g (8.5oz) plain flour
120g (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced
30g (1.1oz) caster sugar
60g (2.1oz) icing sugar
30g (1.1oz) almonds, ground
½ lemon zest
pinch of salt
filling: 120ml (4 fl.oz) honey
100g (3.5oz) caster sugar
pinch of salt
80g (2/3 stick) unsalted butter
100ml (3.4 fl.oz) thickened cream
140g (4.9oz) ricotta
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
100g (3.5oz) pine nuts
For thr base, mix the first 8 ingredients (flour, egg, butter, sugars, almonds, lemon zest and pinch of salt) together with your finger tips (to incorporate the butter) in a large bowl until it comes together. Shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour. Roll the dough out to fit a 23 cm (9 inch) tart pan with a removable base. Line the pan, prick the bottom with a fork and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 170C/325F. Combine the honey, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Add the butter and gently heat the mixture until the butter has melted, the sugar has dissolved and it is homogenous, stirring constantly. Take off the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Whisk in the cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, ricotta and the egg until you get a smooth mixture.
Take the pastry base out of the freezer, scatter the pine nuts and then pour in the filling. Bake in a preheated oven for approximately 50 minutes, or until the tart and crust are golden brown. Don’t worry if the tart is still ‘wobbly’ when you take it out, it will set once cooled. Dust with extra icing sugar if you like and scatter on a few more pine nuts.
Leave to cool completely before removing from the tart tin.