I’m currently visiting my sister in Canberra Australia. Her pretty little garden offers views of the mountains and about a dozen fruit trees brimming with apricots, pears and plums. She was eager for me to come up some tasty ways to cook her fruit before the cockatoos and possums devoured them all.
These plum and ricotta tarts were a delicious mistake. I put far too much sugar and butter in the pastry so it tasted more like shortbread, mmm shortbread… To compensate for my accidentally over-rich pastry, the filling had to be light and not too sweet. A ricotta custard sweetened with a little honey with the tartness of the fresh plums worked perfectly.
Plum Ricotta and Honey Tartlets
- 225g plain flour, sifted
- 120g butter, chilled and cubed
- 65g caster sugar
- 2 egg yolks, whisked
- pinch of salt
- Enough cold water to bring the mixture into a dough
- 250g fresh ricotta
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp runny honey
- zest of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 10 fresh plums
- 1 tsp icing sugar
- 5 tsp of apricot jam (to glaze)
Preheat oven at 180 degrees and grease your tin, I used a 12 hole muffin tin.
When making pastry, everything should be as cold as possible. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers, or use a food processor, until you have a breadcrumb consistency. Add the sugar and salt and combine thoroughly. Mix in the eggs yolks with a knife and then add enough cold water to bring the mixture into a dough. Knead the dough very lightly for about a minute and then wrap it in cling film and set aside in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out on a well floured worktop. The pastry may be quite sticky and hard to work with but don’t worry. Line each greased tin case with a piece of pastry about 1cm thick. You may need to push it in with your fingers. Blind bake* the pastry for 10 minutes, then bake uncovered for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly while you prepare your filling. You should have lovely buttery, golden pastry cases ready to fill.
Whisk the ricotta, eggs, honey, lemon zest and vanilla extract with an electric hand whisk for a few minutes until light and frothy. Distribute the custard evenly between the pastry cases and return to the oven for about 10 minutes or until the custard has just set.
Now turn the oven up to 220 degrees. Removed the custard filled pastries from their cases and place on a baking tray. Cut the plums in half and remove the stones, slice into thin half moons and arrange on top on the tartlets. Dust with a little icing sugar and return to the hot oven for 5-7 minutes, just to soften the fruit slightly.
To finish them off, melt the apricot jam in a small saucepan over a low heat. Using a pastry brush, glaze each tart with the softened apricot jam. This will hold the fruit in place and give them a lovely glossy sheen. Enjoy them warm or cold, they will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
*Blind baking- line the pastry cases with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or rice. Then prevents air pockets from forming in the pastry and helps it to keep its shape.