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Strawberry and Ricotta Tart

(Makes one 9-inch tart)
Strawberry and Ricotta Tart
Strawberry and Ricotta Tart

1-1/4 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1-2 tablespoons cold water

1 cup ricotta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia or vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of one orange

12-16 ounces fresh strawberries, sliced (save one whole berry for the center)
Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)
1/2 cup strawberry or raspberry preserves


To make the crust:
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse a few times to combine the ingredients.  Add the cold butter cubes and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  Add the cold water, one tablespoon at a time, just until the mixture comes together into a dough.  Form the dough into a ball, wrap it and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Butter a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round.
Fit the dough into the tart pan, pressing it into the sides and trimming the top edge.  Pierce the dough all over with a fork.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Line the tart pan with parchment paper with about an inch overhang.
Fill with pie weights or dry beans.  Bake for 10 minutes, remove the parchment and beans, and bake another 5 minutes.  Remove and cool in a wire rack.

To make the filling:
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
With an electric mixer, beat the ricotta and cream cheese until smooth.
Add the egg yolks, sugar, extract and orange zest; mix until well combined.
Spread the filling in the cooled tart shell and bake for 35 minutes.
The tart is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.

To make the topping:
Arrange the sliced strawberries on the tart, starting at the outer edge and working toward the middle.  Place the reserved whole strawberry in the center. Dust the edges of the tart with confectioners' sugar. 

Place the preserves in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Melt the preserves until syrupy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Strain the preserves to remove any seeds, reserving the syrup only.
Gently brush the syrup over the strawberries on the tart.
Serve at room temperature or refrigerate.
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Fiori di Sicilia is an extract with a pleasant combination of citrus and vanilla that imparts a delightful aroma to your baked goods, drinks and more.  You only need to add between 1/8 and 1/2 teaspoon for a truly remarkable flavor difference.
Loose bottom baking pan features a removable, drop out bottom for quick cooling and easy removal of your favorite baked goods.
This strawberry tart is a perfect dessert for spring and summer. It consists of a crisp, buttery crust filled with a creamy ricotta mixture that is flavored with orange and vanilla, and topped with slices of fresh strawberries. You may substitute almost any seasonal fruit that you prefer. The addition of the Fiori di Sicilia extract adds a distinct flavor to the tart but it is also luscious without it.
Tart Technique
A traditional tart pan with short fluted sides and a removable bottom makes unmolding easy.  But have you ever wound up wtih the still-hot ring looped around your arm? Try resting the pan on an over-tuned bowl; the rim will slip down away from the crust.  Then use a metal cake server to loosen the tart from the bottom and lift it onto a serving plate.
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