Brightly-hued citrus fruits form a rainbow of color across a fluffy baked ricotta filling, all wrapped in a gluten-free almond and corn flour shortbread crust adapted from Alternative Baker.
*Bay Area readers! It’s not an alternative fact that I’ll be at Omnivore Books on Sunday February 12th from 3-4 pm speaking about Alternative Baker and signing books. Come indulge in chocolate treats and pick up a copy for your Valentine (or Galentine). Hope to see you there!*
Speaking of February, January is almost over, and not a moment too soon. The past week has felt like a year. In the words of a friend, we must keep finding creative forms of resistance. I’ve officially had this song stuck in my head for the past five days – it should be driving me bananas, but instead, it’s the only thing keeping me sane.
That and all the citrus. (Also: cat purr generator.) As my friend Nora put it, citrus is winter’s only redeeming quality. That is certainly truer than ever, and luckily, while this winter hasn’t been good for much, it has been great for citrus. There are blood oranges, cara caras, navels so sweet they taste like candy. There are half a dozen different varieties of tangerines, and new kinds cycling through with each visit to the co-op. At Bi-Rite there are musky bergamots, tart sevilles, tropical finger limes and floral makruts. It’s an orgy of citrus.
I couldn’t choose just one, so I topped this fluffy ricotta tart with a rainbow of citrus supremes. The filling is made with Bellwether’s whole-milk, basket-dipped ricotta, which is rich and delicious enough to eat right out of the container with a spoon while standing over the kitchen counter. With a few scrapes of citrus zest, some mild honey, and a couple of eggs, it turns into a cheesecake-like filling.
The crust, adapted from Alternative Baker, tastes like delicate shortbread, with a boost of flavor from nutty almond flour and buttery corn flour. It’s easy to make in a stand mixer (or food processor, or with your fingers) and foolproof – no chilling, rolling, or lining necessary. Just press the crust into the pan, freeze, and bake – the sides stay resolutely in place, no shrinking or slumping ever.
With a buttery crust, fluffy filling, and all the citrus, it’s the perfect way to eat your feelings.
If you’re in need of still more sunny citrus, here are some wintery favorites from the archives:
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- Cooking spray
- 1⁄2 cup (60 g) blanched almond flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1⁄2 cup (80 g) sweet white rice flour
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (45 g) corn flour (such as Bob's Red Mill)
- 2 tablespoons (12 g) tapioca flour
- 1⁄4 cup (50 g) organic granulated cane sugar
- 1⁄4 plus 1⁄8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) cold, unsalted butter, diced into 1⁄2-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups (1 pound, 455 grams) whole milk ricotta (such as Bellwether Basket-Dipped)
- Finely grated zest from ½ large lemon (preferably Meyer)
- Finely grated zest from ½ large tangerine
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup (60 ml) mild honey, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon (6 g) sweet white rice flour
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 or 6 large citrus fruits (such as 1 each: tangerine, navel orange, blood orange, cara cara orange, grapefruit)
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375ºF. Spray a 12x4-inch regtangular tart pan (or a 9-inch round tart pan) with a loose bottom lightly with cooking spray and place on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the almond, sweet rice, corn, and tapioca flours with the sugar and salt. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and drizzle with the vanilla extract. Turn the mixer to medium-low and run until the dough comes together in clumps and the butter is worked through, 3–5 minutes.
- Dump the crumbs into the prepared pan and press the dough evenly into the pan, starting with the sides and then moving to the bottom, keeping the edges square. (It usually takes me about 10 minutes to make it look pretty.) Prick the bottom of the crust all over with the tines of a fork and freeze until firm, 15–30 minutes.
- Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until pale golden and firm to the touch, 18–22 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and, while it’s still hot, press the sides and bottom with the back of a spoon. This will help it hold together when cool.
- Decrease the oven temperature to 325ºF. In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta, citrus zests, eggs, honey, flour, and salt until well-combined. Pour into the warm crust and place in the oven. Bake until the filling is lightly puffed and set when you give it a wiggle, 30-40 minutes. Let the tart cool to room temperature, then chill until cold, 2 hours or up to 1 day.
- When ready to serve, supreme the citrus by cutting the top and bottom off of the citrus fruits and use a paring knife to peel away the skin and pith from the outside of the fruit, following the curve of the fruit. Cut out the segments from the membranes, holding the fruit over a bowl to catch the juice (and drink it!). Drain the citrus segments on paper towels to absorb excess moisture, then lay the citrus segments over the tart in whatever pattern you like. Drizzle with honey, cut into slices, and serve.
- The tart is best the day of baking, when the crust is crisp, but it will keep, refrigerated airtight, for up to three days.