Israeli Winter Strawberry Ricotta Tart

By • March 4, 2011 • 6 Comments



Author Notes: I know that strawberries don't seem like a likely contender for a late winter tart. But it turns out that winter is strawberry season in Israel. I have been buying them by the bushel at the shuk (market), where they are available in big, beautiful masses. If you want to get into some interesting and confusing food politics, they come from Gaza (apparently along with other berries, peppers, and flowers that are allowed through the blockade) to bring a little sunshine to this pseudo winter.

While the strawberries are perfect on their own, I had eaten my fill and still had the remainder of my kilo (that’s 2.2 pounds, folks) and didn’t want to risk them going bad. Even a little. I had some frozen puff pastry on hand and wanted a simple recipe that would highlight the fresh flavor of the strawberries. I found a recipe for a strawberry mascarpone tart with balsamic that served as the inspiration for the dessert I ended up making. This would be an ideal recipe for summer since it barely requires turning the oven on (just to lightly brown the crust).

The ricotta filling, flavored with orange zest and vanilla, was reminiscent of a canoli and the macerated strawberries provided the perfect topping. The crust can be totally free form. The tart is a light end to any meal, great for breakfast, just right in summer, and an unexpected treat in winter.
kmartinelli

Serves 8-10

  • 1 frozen puff pastry, defrosted and unrolled
  • 2 pounds strawberries, stemmed and quartered
  • 1/3 cup + 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 12 ounces ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Roll out the puff pastry into a tart or pie pan. Prick all over with a fork and transfer to the oven (weigh down with another pie pan, beans, or pastry weight if you wish, or keep an eye on it). Remove after about 15 minutes, or when the crust is nicely browned and cooked through. Allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, put the strawberries in a large bowl and add 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 tablespoon of the orange zest, and the balsamic vinegar. Gently mix to combine and set aside to macerate for 30 minutes (up to 45 minutes).
  3. In a separate bowl combine the ricotta, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tablespoon orange zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate until needed.
  4. Drain the macerated strawberries (boil the liquid to make a syrup to brush on top, if desired). Fill the tart crust with the ricotta mixture. Arrange the strawberries in concentric circles on top. Serve immediately. Cover the remaining tart with tin foil and refrigerate (it’s excellent cold).
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Tags: fruit, puff pastry, ricotta, strawberries, tart

Comments (6) Questions (0)

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over 3 years ago Midge

This is stunning; gives me hope for spring!

Katherine_photo

over 3 years ago kmartinelli

Thanks Midge! The strawberries here are just incredible. Vendors at the market have piles and piles of them!

Gator_cake

over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Love this combo. I've made a really simple balsamic strawberries with whipped mascarpone cheese from bon appetit magazine, so I know the flavor of this is amazing. I can't wait until strawberry season!

Katherine_photo

over 3 years ago kmartinelli

Thanks hardlikearmor! It's a pretty classic flavor combo and one of my favorites! I love how light and fresh it tastes.

Chris_in_oslo

over 3 years ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

Strawberries are also plentiful and delicious in California at this time of year. Unfortunately the good ones don't travel very well, so East Coasters should wait for their own. The orange zest and balsamic vinegar also give your recipe a bit of a winter vibe. Sounds great!

Katherine_photo

over 3 years ago kmartinelli

Oh good, I'm glad strawberries are in season elsewhere right now! I never remember seeing them on the east coast until summer (besides the overpriced, imported jumbo driscoll supermarket variety). Thanks Greenstuff!