Friday, August 11, 2017

Ricotta and lemon thyme and lavender tart, recipe for ricotta cheese

I made this tart two weeks ago when I had ricotta cheese left over from making a batch of goat milk cheddar.  Well I still have ricotta and thought I'd try a different version.  This recipe is inspired by and modified from John Ash's cookbook "From the Earth to the Table".  This time I lined the crust with a paste of roasted tomatoes.  The crust itself is a slightly sweet cornbread based pastry made with cup 4 cup flour so it's also Gluten Free.  Give it a try with or without gluten.  Try the tart filling with any herbs you like:

crust ingredients

crust mise en place
Ingredients for cornmeal crust:

butter, 1/2 cup softened
sugar, 2 TBS
cornmeal, 1 cup
eggs, 2- at room temperature
salt, 1 tsp
all purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups - I use Cup 4 Cup whenever possible for a gluten-free choice


In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar and beat until smooth
Add cornmeal, eggs, and salt
Beat until well combined
Add flour and mix until dough forms a ball.  The mixture should be soft and moist
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour

Preheat oven to 350 deg. 
Butter a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom
On a floured work surface roll out the dough to fit the pan.  Transfer to the tart pan.
Press the dough into then pan, trimming any excess
Prick the dough with the tines of a fork
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until just lightly browned.

Any leftover dough can be rolled out and cut into biscuits

happens to the best of us

just pretend it's play dough

Meanwhile gather the ingredients for your filling.  I had fresh tomatoes ( Pineapple and Cherokee Purple) from the garden.....lemon thyme, a pinch of coconut thyme blossoms, and lavender buds.  The ricotta was from the last batch of cheddar cheese.

Ricotta Cheese:
Ricotta is usually made from the whey from a hard cheese process.  Assuming you don't have a lactating goat and you don't have any fresh whey on hand let's make the best of it.


whole milk, 1 gallon, NOT ultra pasteurized
cream, 1 cup, not ultra pasteurized 
apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup
salt - sea or kosher - no iodine- 1-2 tsp
honey - optional - for sweet cheese


Instant read thermometer


Bring milk and cream to 190 deg
Add vinegar and continue to stir 
Turn off heat
You will see the curds (solids) begin to separate from the whey (liquid) 
Line the strainer with the cheesecloth and place over a vessel large enough to collect all the whey
Lift cheese with cloth and hang to let remaining whey drip out. If you want it dryer give it a squeeze while it's still in the cheesecloth
After about an hour transfer the curds to a bowl and salt to taste

Will keep about a week in the fridge or you can freeze
I don't know how much this will produce.  When I use 2 gallons of goat milk I get about a pound or 3 cups.

Now we're ready to make the filling:   This will take a while because you need to reduce the sauce and cool it before adding the eggs.  I take a nap while the sauce is cooling.  Or you can use an ice water bain Marie to speed up the process- or both

Recipe for filling:


Butter, unsalted, 1 TBS
Shallots, 4 TBS minced  ( can use scallions - white and green parts)
Heavy cream, 2/3 cup
Wine, white, dry,  1/2 cup
Sea Salt, 1/2 tsp
Pepper, freshly ground, 1/4 tsp
Ricotta cheese, fresh, 3/4 lb
Eggs, 3
Herbs, fresh 1 1/2 TBS, I used lemon thyme, lavender and a pinch of the flowers from coconut thyme


In a medium sauté pan melt butter and add shallots until soft but not brown
Add cream, wine, salt and pepper
Bring to a simmer and reduce to half

The kitchen will smell marvelous!!!!


In the food processor add ricotta, eggs and herbs.
Add room temp or cooler reduction sauce and beat until smooth
Pour into crust with or without roasted tomato paste lining
Bake at 350 deg for 35-40 minutes or until filling is set and lightly brown.

Serve warm or at room temperature.
tart filling ingredients
tart filling mise in place

Roasted tomatoes:
These have wonderful flavor
Cut fresh tomatoes in half and place face down on baking sheet
Roast at 375 deg until brown (at least an hour).  This is what mine looked like after an hour:
roasted tomatoes
Remove the skins and smooth or rough chop in a small blender.
Use the browned bits too
Use a pastry brush and slightly cover the cooled crust
fresh chopped herbs

Bon Appetit!

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