Dolci & Desserts Italian Regional Recipes

Cocoa Crostata with Ricotta and Orange Cream

Crostata is one of the most classic Italian desserts based on shortcrust pastry.

We made it by adding cocoa in the flour, then stuffed with an orange-flavoured ricotta cream to balance the taste.


For the Cocoa Shortcrust Pastry

250 g Italian soft flour milled 0 type / All Purpose/ Plain Flour
110 g unsalted softened butter, not melted
80 g caster or brown sugar
30 g unsweetened cocoa-powder
2 eggs, to use: 1 yolk, 1 whole egg
a pinch of salt

For the Ricotta and Orange Cream

  • 500 g Sweet Ricotta cheese
  • Orange, 2 + zest
  • Egg, 2
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • few fresh mint leaves for garnish

Method

On a worktop add flour, sugar and cocoa and form a well, namely a hollow in the centre where you will put the softened butter cut into chunks, the yolk, the whole egg and a pinch of salt.

Start beating slightly with a fork, then knead the dough with your hands until you get a smooth dough. Ball-shaped, covered with a cling film, put it to rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

Then roll it out with a rolling pin.

Tip: prick it with the prongs of a fork before baking it so that it won’t puff up during cooking.

Preheat the oven to 200 C, bake the tart base about 12 to 15 minutes.

This process is called ‘blind baking‘ aka pre-baking, simply because the pie filling takes less time to cook than the shortcrust itself or because the filling doesn’t need to be baked but just added to the shortcrust just like this one.

Tip: Ricotta cheese you can find in supermarkets is soft and ready to use without the need to sieve it, however the advice is to sieve it anyway, perhaps by placing it in a fine-meshed colander, crushing it and allowing it to drain from its water.

Slice 1 orange into thin wedges, set aside.
Grate the zest of the other one keeping it aside, then squeeze its juice, strain it and keep it aside.

Separate the yolks from the egg whites. Whip the whites firmly, set aside.
Beat the yolks together with the sugar and orange juice until smooth and frothy. Add it to ricotta along with the orange zest, mix together.
Proceed by adding the whipped whites and mix gently from bottom to top with a spatula or wooden spoon. Store it in the fridge at least 1 hour.
Spread the cream evenly over the bottom of cocoa shortcrust pastry, garnish with the orange slices, few mint leaves, serve.

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