For those who have been following me for a while, you’ll be familiar with the scale of the parties we throw in the office, whether it be for a birthday or a farewell. On this occasion, it was not only the birthday but also the farewell of a much-loved character in our office, as well as the boss’ birthday. A morning tea on a spectacular scale had to be planned.
I was a little short on time in that week so decided to go with a low-fuss speciality of mine that’s always guaranteed to please, and that’s my tart. I made the pastry two nights before so it had plentiful time to rest in the fridge for the day, and all it required was blind-baking, cooling, then spooning the ridiculously easy ricotta mix into it. I waited until the morning of the tea to prep and spoon on the beautiful strawberries. When something is so easy and not only looks but tastes beautiful – how could you not make it…?
You will need:
- 250g plain flour;
- 125g unsalted butter;
- 2 egg yolks, chilled;
- 80g sifted icing sugar;
- 1 cup ricotta;
- 1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar, plus 2 teaspoons, extra;
- 1 egg;
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste;
- 500g small strawberries;
- 2 teaspoons orange juice.
Process the flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Whisk the egg yolks and a tablespoon of chilled water in a bowl until combined, then with the food processor running, add to the flour mixture. Process until the mixture begins to form large clumps, stopping the machine before the mixture forms a bowl.
Turn the pastry out onto a work surface and knead gently to bring together. Form into a disc for a round tart or into a log shape for a rectangular tart. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Roll out the disc of pastry between two sheets of baking paper and line a 24cm diameter springform tart tin. Prick the base with a fork. Line the top with a sheet of baking paper and weight with baking weights, beans or rice and bake for 10 minutes. Remove weights and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden. Place to one side and allow to cool.
In a food processor, add the ricotta, 1/4 cup caster sugar, egg and vanilla and process for one minute or until smooth. Spread the ricotta filling over the cooled tart base and bake for 15 minutes or until just set in the centre.
Cool in the fridge. When ready to serve, wash, slice and hull the strawberries into a large bowl. Add the orange juice and extra caster sugar to the strawberries and toss to coat. To serve, fill the cooled tart with these beautiful strawberries.
Simple and gorgeous xx