Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Mushroom Ricotta Tart

For this tart, adapted from PinLaVie, I once again made my own ricotta cheese (recipe reproduced below). I corrected the ingredient list, which was in the wrong order and had left out the shallot (and therefore, so did I). I swapped out the chopped chili pepper for Korean pepper. Also, I used cornmeal to roll out the dough, but next time I would probably use parmesan, as the recipe calls for (it just seemed so wasteful at first, but I simplified the rolling out method, and I think it would make sense after all; you could also use flour or really fine cornmeal). I omitted the egg wash entirely. While I liked the result, it made a smaller tart than I was expecting, so maybe next time I would make it in a 9-inch tart pan instead and use more mushrooms. As it is, it makes 2 big servings or 4 small ones. I served the tart with a green salad and a fantastic basil balsamic vinaigrette.

For the ricotta (makes about 1 generous cup)
3 cups lactose-free whole milk
1 cup lactose-free heavy cream (if unavailable, use 1 more cup lactose-free whole milk)
½ tsp. coarse sea salt
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pour the milk, cream and salt into a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer. Heat the milk to 190 °F, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, then stir it once or twice, gently and slowly. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the whey). Pour the curds and whey into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour. At an hour, you’ll have a tender, spreadable ricotta. At two hours, it will be spreadable but a bit firmer, almost like cream cheese. (It will firm as it cools, so do not judge its final texture by what you have in your cheesecloth.) Discard the whey, or, if you’re one of those crafty people who use it for other things, of course, save it. Eat the ricotta right away or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the tart dough
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
½ tsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. cold butter
ice water (about 4 Tbsp.)

For the tart filling
1 shallot, sliced
3 large handfuls of chanterelles or other mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
pinch Korean pepper1 small shallot, finely diced
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup lactose-free ricotta (see above)
30 g freshly grated parmesan (plus more for rolling out tart dough)
1 large egg
handful of freshly picked thyme

Combine flour, salt and sugar in a blender and pulse to combine. Cut cold butter and add to the flour, then pulse until largest butter pieces are about the size of almonds. Gently add some ice cold water until dough just holds together (you don’t want it to be wet!). Form into a disc, wrap and let chill until firm in the fridge (about 40 minutes).

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan, add shallot and cook until starting to soften, then add the mushrooms and Korean pepper and fry on high heat until starting to soften. Take off heat and season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 °F.

In a small bowl, mix ricotta with parmesan cheese, add the egg along with salt, pepper and thyme.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle it with grated parmesan, then roll out the dough in a circle about 10 inches in diameter (it doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s a rustic tart). Spread the filling on the dough, leaving a border of about 1 ½ inches. Arrange the mushrooms on top, then using the parchment paper to guide you, gently fold up the edges of the dough toward the center. Sprinkle with more thyme and parmesan if you like (I omitted it here, but topped with more parmesan when serving).

Transfer the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 °F, rotate the baking sheet and bake for another 20 minutes, until the edges become golden brown. Remove from oven and slide, with parchment paper, onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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