Baked Ricotta Tart with Prunes

I use to live in Sydney and when heavily pregnant with my third child I discovered that inside a pretty dodgy looking bakery at Summer Hill they sold the most delicious Pear and Cheese Tarts. The tarts seemed to have a bit of a brulee finish on top. I ate so many I started to get concerned I might have got my baby hooked too.

Now I live in Brisbane and Summer Hill is just too far to go for a tart. So I have been on a quest to find a recipe. I saw this recipe for a Baked Ricotta Tart with prunes in Steven Snows cookbook ‘Byron: Cooking and Eating’. I thought I should give it a go and see if I’m on the right track.

The recipe says it yeilds 8 10cm round tartlets. Well it did and then I had heaps of shortcrust pastry and the ricotta filling leftover. So I made one long tart too and cracked open a tin of pear halves, sliced them, gave them 10 minutes to marinate in the frangelico syrup leftover from the prunes and arranged them in the tart. That is still in the fridge uneaten. I might try a bit of a brulee on top.

As for the prune tartlets they were delicious. Not like the Pear and Cheese Tart though so my mission is not complete. The prune tartlets have more of a cheesecake taste and texture. I want something more creamy.

Late last night I did sprinkle a teaspoon of caster sugar over one of the tarts and torched it. Anything tastes good with that sort of treatment. It was good but unnecessary. I will still try it though with the long pear tart.

baked ricotta tart with prunes

150ml Frangelico
220g pitted prunes


180g chilled butter, diced
250g plain flour
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons iced water

ricotta filling

125g butter, melted
230g caster sugar
3 eggs
250g sour cream
500g ricotta cheese

Put the Frangelico in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Add the prunes and enough hot water to just cover them. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the prunes to steep in the syrup for at least 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Lightly grease eight individual 10cm round tartlet tins.

To make pastry, blitz flour and chilled butter in food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and just enough iced water to bring the pastry together. Knead gently together on a lightly floured surface. Flatten into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking paper (I use Glad Go-Betweens for any pastry and biscuit dough that needs rolling flat) to 5mm thickness. Cut circles large enough to fit the base and side of the tins. Gently press the pastry into each tartlet tin and trim any excess pastry overhanging the edge. Lightly prick the bases with a fork and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Blind bake for 10 minutes then remove paper and beads and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Lower the oven temperature to 160 degrees.

To make the ricotta filling, put the butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream and ricotta in a food processor and blend well until smooth. Cut the prunes almost in half, leaving them hinged, and open out. Place prunes, cut side down, in the pastry cases to cover the base. Divide the ricotta filling over the top of each. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until set.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours. Serve cold, with poaching fruit, such as pears, or extra prunes if desired.

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