Plethora of Ricotta

Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

What do you do when ricotta is on sale, even if you cook for one and the size that’s on sale is the “family size”, 32 ounce?

Buy it and bake cakes with it, that’s what!

Trying my hardest to steer away from flour/butter/sugar, that’s why I decided not to bake a cake for my recent birthday and went with fresh tarts (which by the way also include flour/butter/sugar).  I was craving cake because I skipped cake – go figure!

Found a few recipes for a coffee cake which contained less sugar but decided on this Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake, of all choices.

Straight from the oven, I immediately sliced it and doled it out to friends and neighbors.  I actually stored a big piece in the freezer; it’s in there now.  Out of sight, out of mind – well, maybe.

I used this recipe from a fellow food blogger, Alexandra Cooks making slight changes:  used 2 eggs, used ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt, and used 1 cup of ricotta.  Really easy recipe with buttery, moist results!  So good, really!

Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese (I used 1 cup of part-skim)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup Greek yogurt, plain

Process

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9x5x3” loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans and line bottom with parchment.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to blend.

Using a mixer, cream the butter, ricotta and granulated sugar until blended, it’s ok if there are some visible pieces of butter/cheese. In other words, the batter will not look entirely smooth. With the machine running, add the eggs 1 at a time. Add the vanilla, zest and lemon juice until combined. Add the dry ingredients, careful to just combine and not over mix.

Add to pans and bake for about 40 minutes; test with a skewer or toothpick for doneness.

**Note:  a couple of changes I would make – cream the butter and sugar first for about 5 minutes then add the remaining wet ingredients; I would also use 1 stick of butter and 1 cup of sugar instead of 1 and 1/2.  I do plan to bake this again as it is so easy and results are great!


Easy Rustic Tarts

While the ground is frozen, my oven stays warm.

I’ve been perfecting my pie dough crust.  Okay, I haven’t been actually making pies I guess you can say I’ve been taking the easy route with these super easy rustic (and so delish) tarts.

Since I couldn’t decide whether to go sweet or savory, and while I have made many sweet tarts or crostatas or galettes, I was uncertain about the ingredients to use in a savory tart.  (Why so many names?  Crostata is Italian and galette is French.)

I looked for some recipes starring my all-time favorite vegetable, leafy green spinach and got some ideas from those.  I prepared the spinach using very similar ingredients that I would use when not including in a pastry dough – with sautéed onions and garlic for great flavor and I added grated gruyere cheese then added to the dough.  Pretty simple, right?  You got it!

You give it a try and let me know whether you agree or not.

Savory
Spinach Gruyere Tart

SpinachTart

SpinachTart

 

Easy Rustic Tarts Recipe

Pastry Dough for Tart
Ingredients

2 C flour
1 ½ t salt
1 t baking powder
6 T butter, cold
4 T vegetable shortening
½ C (or less) ice water

Process:  mix flour, salt, baking powder together; add the butter and shortening using a cheese grater (or your preferred method); combine until mixture is the texture of small peas; add ice water a little at a time; roll out onto a floured surface and make 2 small discs; wrap in plastic and refrigerate until filling is ready.

Spinach Gruyere Tart
Ingredients

6-7 C organic spinach
½ C Gruyere cheese, grated
2 T olive oil
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic, minced
½ t salt
½ t thyme
dash pepper

Process:  Sautee onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until golden; add garlic and cook until fragrant, careful not to burn; remove from pan and add remaining olive oil; add spinach, salt, thyme and pepper; cover with lid and cook for 3 minutes; let cool.  Squeeze all liquid from the cooled spinach then combine with the cheese; add this mixture to the tart dough and wrap the edges over the filling to enclose; bake at 400 F degrees for about 20-25 minutes until crust is golden brown.

 

Sweet
Red Grape Tart

GrapeTart

GrapeTart

GrapeTart

Red Grape Tart
Ingredients

1 C red grapes, thoroughly washed
1 t potato starch
½ C water
1 T sugar (adjust here according to natural sweetness of fruit used)
1 t lemon juice
½ t lemon zest
pinch of salt

Process:  cook grapes in the 1/2 cup of water; bring to a boil.  In a separate bowl mix the potato starch, lemon juice, sugar, zest and salt; add this mixture to the boiling grapes and stir constantly; let simmer for about 2 minutes and remove from heat; let cool.  Add this mixture to the chilled and rolled out dough.  Fold up the edges to “hug” the red grape mixture; bake in a preheated oven at 400 F degrees for about 25 minutes until crust is golden.  Let cool before serving.