Many years ago at Pasquini Bakery in Denver that has since closed, I had a blackberry tart that was so good it made my head spin. Of course the blackberries were musty-dusty as they should be, but something was different about this tart.
Both the crust and the filling were much lighter than ordinary custard tart. I examined the pastry cases and did research.
I concluded that the crust was pâte sucrée (which has a little sugar in it). And the light filling was….cannoli filling (mascarpone). I’ve been making this tart ever since, to rave reviews, with any summer fruit.
mix: 1 cup flour, 2 tbsp granulated sugar, 1/4 tsp salt.
slice into the bowl: 6 tbsp cold butter
using fingers, break the butter into smaller and smaller pieces. as it mixes with the dry ingredients, it will eventually form a mealy texture. remember to break, not squeeze. this is called “cutting in”.
once you have an even meal, dribble water into the bowl 1 tbsp at a time, now squeezing the dough together until it forms a ball. as soon as it’s all able to stick together, the dough is done. do not knead or work the dough.
use plenty of flour to prevent this delicate dough from sticking. roll to a thickness of 1/8-1/4 inch. if you are using a tart pan with a removable bottom, roll the dough out directly onto the tart pan so you don’t have to move it. if you do have to move the dough, such as into a pie pan, it may break, but you can
repair it by just pushing on it once it’s in place.
for a summer fruit tart
bake the pastry shell at 350 until pale golden. (12-15 minutes)
while it’s baking, mix one tub of ricotta cheese with 1/2 cup white sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
remove from oven and place a handful of semi-sweet chocolate in the middle of the shell. return to oven for one minute. remove and turn off the oven. use a butter knife to spread the chocolate across the shell.
let cool (if you are in a hurry, you can cool it in the freezer for about 10 minutes)
spread 1/2 of the ricotta over the tart and then smother with sliced fresh fruit (berries and stone fruit are the best, mango and kiwi are fine too)