Recipe File: Torta de Ricota | Ricotta Pie

When perusing the case filled with assorted tarts and cakes at the neighborhood bakery just around the corner, the torta de ricota, with its snow-white layer of powdered sugar and enticing fluted crust, never fails to attract my attention. The Argentine dessert torta de ricota, known as ricotta pie in English, features a sweet, rich filling of ricotta cheese flavored with lemon and vanilla between two layers of crumbly shortcrust dough. The Argentine version of this pie, an import originally hailing from Italy, invariably calls for a double crust, unlike Italian-American versions that I have seen that bear more of a resemblance to a cheesecake or single-crust pie.

Although I adore dulce de leche, its recurring role in Argentine pastries and cakes can grow tiresome (believe it or not!). When my taste buds are suffering from dulce de leche overload, torta de ricota makes for a particularly attractive option, especially during the summer months when I tend to gravitate toward desserts with a hint of citrus.
Torta de Ricota by katiemetz, on Flickr

Ricotta Pie | Torta de Ricota

Ingredients
Dough:
3 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 sticks butter, cubed
2 whole eggs
1 c. powdered sugar, plus additional for dusting finished tart
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon

Filling:
2 1/2 c. ricotta cheese
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 scant c. sugar

Equipment:
Deep tart pan with removable bottom

Directions
Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter, and using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the eggs, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest, and mix to form the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until just combined. Shape the dough into a ball, and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes.

For the filling, in a medium bowl, place the ricotta, egg yolks, vanilla extract, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch and sugar. Mix well to incorporate the ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the tart pan.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and divide it in two. Lightly flour both the rolling pin and work surface, and roll out each piece of dough into a disc just slightly larger than the tart pan. To transfer the dough to the tart pan, carefully roll the dough around the rolling pin, and unroll it onto the top of the tart pan. Gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

Pour the filling into the prepared tart pan. Carefully place the second disc of dough over the filling. Press the edges of the dough into the rim of the tart pan, removing any excess.

Place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Bake until the top of the pie is light golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow the pie to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. Let the pie continue to cool at room temperature, and then place it in the refrigerator for at least two hours (tastes best when served chilled). Dust the pie with powdered sugar just before serving.

This recipe was originally published by me on the website Hispanic Kitchen.

Torta de Ricota II by katiemetz, on Flickr Read More......

Recipe File: Rosca de Reyes | Three Kings’ Cake

The rosca de reyes, the food most closely associated with El Día de los Tres Reyes Magos, begins to crop up in Argentine bakeries just after New Year's. A sweetened yeast bread formed into the shape of a ring, the rosca de reyes symbolizes both the crowns of the Three Kings and God's unending love. The Argentine version of the rosca is usually topped with pastry cream, candied cherries (and/or other candied fruits) and pearl sugar.

Rosca de Reyes by katiemetz, on Flickr
Three Kings’ Cake | Rosca de Reyes
Yields 1 large ring or 2 small ones

Ingredients

Sponge:
1/4 c. bread flour
1 Tbsp. honey
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/3 c. warm milk [100ºF to 110ºF]

Dough:
3 c. bread flour plus up to 1 c. bench flour
3 tsp. active dry yeast
1/3 c. warm milk
1/2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. malt extract [optional]
2 eggs
7 Tbsp. butter, softened [just under 1 stick]

Pastry Cream:
2 c. milk
1 whole egg
3 egg yolks
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Other:
1 beaten egg
red candied cherries
pearl sugar
apricot jelly [optional]

Directions

To make the sponge, in a medium bowl, dissolve the honey in the warm milk, and then add the yeast and flour, stirring to create a paste. Leave the mixture, covered, to rise and bubble for 2 hours.

For the dough, sift the flour and place it in a large mixing bowl, making a well in the center. Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Add the sugar, lemon zest, vanilla extract, malt extract, eggs, butter and the sponge to the well. Slowly add the milk and yeast mixture to the well while incorporating the flour into the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon. Once the dough comes together into a ball, turn it out onto a well floured work surface and knead by hand (the dough will be very sticky). Use up to 1 cup of additional bench flour to knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic and no longer sticks to your hands, about 15 minutes. Shape dough into one large ball (or two smaller ones), and place in a greased bowl, covered with a kitchen towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm place, until it doubles in volume.

While the dough is rising, make the pastry cream. Scald the milk in a heavy saucepan (milk should foam but not boil). In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whole egg along with the egg yolks, sugar and flour until smooth. Slowly incorporate the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to avoid curdling the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until it just comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer the pastry cream to a clean bowl (pass it through a fine-mesh strainer if you spot small pieces of curdled egg), and cool the pastry cream to room temperature.

Punch down the dough and form it into a ball. Place the dough ball on a baking sheet lined with greased parchment or a silicone mat, and make a hole in the center of the ball. Carefully stretch and shape the dough into a ring. Insert a lightly crumpled ball of aluminum foil or an empty tin can in the hole.
Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about one hour or until doubled in volume.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Using a pastry bag with a star tip, decorate the ring with pastry cream. Brush the ring with beaten egg, avoiding areas with pastry cream. Place the candied cherries on top and sprinkle with pearl sugar.

Bake the ring for about 35 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Optional step: While the rosca cools, prepare the apricot jelly. Bring the jelly to a simmer in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Let the jelly reduce until it has thickened slightly, about five minutes. Lightly brush the rosca with jelly to enhance its appearance and give it shine.

This recipe was originally published by me on the website Hispanic Kitchen. Read More......
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