Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Zucchini Ricotta Tart

Zucchini Ricotta Tart
Are you ready for yet another vegetable tart? This Zucchini Ricotta Tart is absolutely luscious, easily put together, and makes a lovely presentation!   

Lucky me! This year my garden has been producing an abundance of zucchini. Funny how that happens! Last year my zucchini plants picked up some kind of blight. I don’t think they even produced two zucchinis the whole season. This year is quite a different story. I’ve been getting loads of gorgeous zucchini each week, giving away as many as I can to friends and family! I’ve also made countless loaves of zucchini bread, zucchini pancakes, grilled zucchini, and a delicious zucchini tomato salad.
So, when my friend asked me to bring some type of quiche or tart to a brunch she was hosting, this one popped right into my head! Another way to use some of those zucchini! I’ve made this tart several times to rave reviews, and recipe requests. It’s a recipe I first saw while watching the “Chew". It’s great for a quick lunch, brunch dish, or light dinner!

A winner all around! 
The tart has a layer of tomato jam spread over the baked shell, which adds a wonderful depth of flavor. Since I also had an abundance of tomatoes in my garden...I made a few batches of tomato jam.  It seems the stars aligned! The jam worked perfectly with this tart!  The subtle flavor of the rosemary in the olive oil crust is quite nice. The ricotta filling, and thinly sliced zucchini layered on top, makes this tart irresistibly mouthwatering.
Tarts always make such a nice presentation at the table, and are relatively easy to put together. The crust can be made and baked, the day before you plan to serve it. Quiches and tarts always seem to be a “go to” when I entertain. I made this one with the olive oil crust.  However, if you’re pressed for time, you could just buy a pre-made piecrust! How easy is that? 

Honestly, this tart was a winner!  Even Bill ate it!  Happy Wednesday, everyone!
Tomato jam adds such a nice depth of flavor 
A perfect addition to our brunch table
Wonderfully delicious!

Zucchini Ricotta Tart
adapted from Daphne Oz the Chew


1 cup Whole wheat flour
1 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
5 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup cold water 

1/2 cup Tomato Jam
2 cups Ricotta
1 Egg
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano (freshly grated - plus more from garnish)
1/4 cup Fresh Basil leaves-torn
3 tablespoons Chives (chopped)
2 Zucchini

For the Olive Oil Tart Crust:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl combine flour, salt. Add oil, mix together with a fork. Add water and mix until absorbed; knead lightly.
Turn dough on to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out into a flat rectangle large enough to cover the tart pan. Place on a greased sheet pan. Rest for 30 minutes.
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack.

For the Filling:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Brush the bottom of the tart shell with the tomato jam.
In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, parmigiano, basil and chives. Spoon into the baked tart shell.
Using a peeler or mandolin (confidence permitting) shave the zucchini lengthwise into long strips.  Sprinkle strips with a little salt and place them in a strainer for 10 minutes to allow excess water to drain. Pat strips dry with paper towel, and lay them over the top of the filling.
Garnish the tart with parmigiano, then transfer to oven, and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Apricot and Pistachio Ricotta Cake

Apricot and Pistachio Ricotta Cake

Clotilde Dusoulier, of Chocolate and Zucchini, has been one of my favorite food bloggers for years. She has shared some marvelous recipes that have become standards in my home. She has also written two delightful cookbooks. This recipe for Apricot and Pistachio Ricotta Cake is one of my family’s favorites, and is from her first cookbook, “Chocolate and Zucchini”.  Definitely my kind of cake! Moist, slightly sweet, with a moderate dense crumb…and delectable! This is the kind of cake I enjoy anytime of the day, perfect for an afternoon snack, or as a simple dessert with a side of ice cream. It is also my kind of breakfast, served with a cup of tea; it can’t get any better than that.

This was a perfect choice for afternoon tea, on my deck, with friends

I grew up in the country, where my grandfather had a peach orchard.  He also had quince, cherry, apple, and apricot trees. When these fruits came in, my mother and grandmother would spend days canning, making jam and (my personal favorite) making pies, cobblers and cakes.  This cake reminds me of one my mom used to bake. It’s a perfect way to use up that summer fruit, and is quite elegant looking.  I have tried this cake using both apricots and peaches…either way it is superb! And don’t forget to add a scoop of ice cream on the side. Incredible! Happy baking!

Moist, dense crumb
Tea anyone?

 Apricot and Pistachio Ricotta Cake
  •  Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
  • Servings: 8
Recipe by Clotilde Dusoulier, from her book Chocolate & Zucchini


    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 cup ricotta cheese
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 tablespoon orange zest
    • 2/3 cup pistachios
    • 12 apricots


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 10-inch springform pan with the pat of butter.
  2. In a food processor (or in a large mixing bowl if you choose to do this by hand), combine the remaining butter and the 1 cup sugar and process until creamy. Add the eggs one by one, the ricotta, and the vanilla extract and mix between each addition.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture and orange zest to the egg mixture. Mix until just combined; the batter will be thick. Fold in half of the pistachios (reserve the other half for topping) and pour the batter into the prepared pan, levelling the surface with a spatula.
  4. Arrange the apricots skin side down over the batter in a regular pattern. It's ok to crowd them a little; they will shrink as they bake. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and the remaining pistachios.
  5. Bake for 1 hour, until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let rest for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the pan to loosen the cake, unclasp the sides of the pan, and let cool completely before serving. The cake tastes best fresh out of the oven, but it will keep for 2 days at room temperature, wrapped tightly in foil.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Berry and Peach Tiramisu

Berry and Peach Tiramisu

Long before there was French Fridays, there was my dinner club! It was my introduction into cooking outside my comfort zone. Our group has been getting together for over 25 years. Our kids were still in high school when we began this gourmet dinner challenge. We started out by rotating hosts, and they would pick the menu. We traveled all over the world with this group. Experimenting with German cuisine for our Oktoberfest, and impressing ourselves with our accomplishment of a perfect French dinner.  We also delved into Italian, Russian, Lebanese, Dutch, Chinese, Irish, and good old American cuisine.
We even hosted a few murder mystery dinners!  Way back then, we would pick desserts that were complicated, and sometimes took hours to prepare, and then found that some of the best and most delicious desserts, were the easiest to prepare. 
After some 25 years, we have gotten away from all the structure, and now just want to enjoy an evening with good friends.

Mouthwatering, creamy and topped with seasonal berries and fruit

A few weeks ago, one of my friends decided to host a brunch instead of dinner. Since it’s summer, our time is a lot less restrictive, and we thought it would be fun to enjoy an afternoon together. The hostess chose a lovely menu, starting out with a luscious fruit salad and Classic Mimosas. We then enjoyed a delicious French Toast Casserole, a Mexican Frittata, sausage, and my contribution, a Zucchini Tart (I will be posting the recipe soon).  It was a lovely Brunch with wonderful friends. We discussed the issues of the day, the books we were reading, our children, and our grandchildren. Then the hostess took out dessert! It was this very delectable Berry Tiramisu. Not only delicious, but easy to put together! I enjoyed this dessert so much, I made it for a lunch I was hosting for some friends. My only change was mixing some sweet Jersey peaches in with the berries. This lovely tiramisu can sit in the fridge for up to two days, which makes it a perfect choice for do-ahead prep. Enjoy!

Once you layer the Tiramisu….refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or up to two days
A great dessert, for an evening with good friends

Berry-Peach Tiramisu
adapted from Rachel Raye


1½ cups brewed coffee
2 tablespoons sambuca
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 pound container mascarpone cheese
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Ladyfinger cookies
Cocoa powder
1½ cups mixed berries
¾ cup sliced peaches 

In a shallow bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups brewed coffee, 2 tablespoons sambuca and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved. In a separate bowl, whisk together one 1-pound container mascarpone cheese, 1/4 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar. Using enough ladyfinger cookies to cover the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish, dip the ladyfingers in the coffee mixture and arrange in an even layer at the bottom of the pan. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture on top. Repeat the two layers. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and 2 cups mixed berries. Refrigerate the tiramisu for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.