I don’t have much of a back story for this recipe, I’m afraid. The tart was an idea I came up with on the fly, desperate to use the last of my homemade ricotta before losing it and faced with too few apricots for jam but too many for snacking. It was a lovely way to solve my problems. I call it a tart because the cheese layer is so thin it doesn’t seem like a pie; it’s wonderfully simple, rustic if you want, and very comforting. I chose to use a graham cracker crust for two reasons: as a vehicle for cinnamon and because it is easy to prepare. The texture of the grahams was a good balance for the creamy cheese layer and saucy fruit, and the cinnamon complements the apricots beautifully. When chilled, the lemony notes of the ricotta filling really come through. I really enjoy this combination of flavors and the tart is a breeze to put together. A few of my apricots were not perfectly ripe, but if yours are, by all means macerate the sliced fruit with sugar and lemon juice and skip cooking a compote. Mmm. Happy weekend to all–
Ricotta Tart with Fresh Apricot Compote
For the crust:
- 1 sleeve of graham crackers (about 9 full-sized graham crackers)
- 4 T. unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
For the filling:
- 1 c. ricotta
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/3 c. sugar
- zest of one lemon
- 1 tsp. vanilla
For the compote:
- 2 T. unsalted butter
- 1 lb. fresh apricots, pitted and sliced
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/3 – 1/2 c. white or brown sugar (will vary based on your fruit and your taste)
- 2-3 T. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. To make the crust, first crush the graham crackers: I use a Ziploc bag and a rolling pin because it’s fun but you can use a food processor if you wish. Mix the crushed grahams with melted butter, 1 tsp. sugar and cinnamon until you have a wet sand consistency. Using a wooden spoon or the bottom of a clean drinking glass, press your mixture into a 9″ pie pan until you have an even distribution across the bottom and a bit going up the sides; don’t worry about the mixture reaching all the way to the top. Bake for 10 mins. and remove to cool for about half an hour before filling. This recipe works for any graham cracker crust you may need; omit the cinnamon if you want a “regular” or “plain” version.
To a medium bowl, add the ricotta, egg yolks, 1/3 c. sugar, lemon zest and vanilla and mix until smooth. Pour the filling into your slightly cooled crust and gently spread to cover the bottom. Bake for 20 mins., until the filling has set. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
To make the compote, melt the butter over medium heat in a sauce pan or small skillet. Add the sliced apricots and cook for about 3 mins.; add the sugar, salt and lemon juice and mix to combine. Cook over medium to medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit softens; cook time will vary according to the ripeness or softness of the fruit you use. I cooked my compote for about 10 mins. total and was happy to have some chunky pieces of fruit as well as a glorious saucy element. Stir in the vanilla right at the end. Cool at room temperature for about 15 mins. and then spoon carefully over the ricotta layer of the tart; chill in the fridge for 30 mins. (or more) before serving. I like the tart best the day it’s made, but it will keep for several days, covered, in the fridge.