A simple yet elegant Chocolate Orange Ricotta Tart. This Italian treat is made with a crumbly pastry crust, a silky smooth filling of ricotta and mascarpone cheeses. The zest of mandarines with its juices adds a lovely citrusy scent. And of course some grated semi-sweet chocolate simply because chocolate does indeed make everything better.
This post was originally published April 14, 2017 and updated with new content and photos March 25, 2019.
Italian Easter Tart
Growing up Italian in a predominately french city, there never was any lack of desserts after a fine celebratory meal.
Easter Sunday was no exception especially after a mandatory and traditional simple roast of agnello or rather lamb.
Desserts as well never wavered far from the customary sweets from way back home in Italy.
One in particular which graced our table each and every Easter was la casata. A typical tart from my home town made with ricotta, sheep’s milk cheese and chocolate which utilizes many eggs. It always had mamma and her sisters vying for the coveted spot of who used the most eggs.
It’s not unusual to use anywhere from 20 to 30 eggs when making la casata from my Paese in the Lazio region of Italy.
Although not my mamma’s casata this chocolate orange ricotta tart still pulls at my heartstrings. It’s somewhat similar in taste to the one I grew up on but way much lighter and not as dense.
Making Short Crust Pastry
We begin with a a crumbly short crust pastry that is really quite easy to make. It’s then rolled out and used to line the tart tin.
You’ll find it to be quite forgiving if any breakage occurs and can be remedied by working it back together with either your fingers or the back of a spoon.
You’ll want to pierce it with a fork before filling it with the ricotta mixture so that no humps occur while baking.
I used a 10 inch tart tin with a removable base but you can also use a 9 inch tart tin.
You will however want to divide the pastry dough in half while using one half and freezing the other to use at a later time. Or you can make some pretty cut out cookies with the remaining dough and use to decorate the tart.
You’ll also have to compensate for the slightly smaller tart tin by reducing the amount of time baked.
Orange and chocolate are one of my absolute favourite pairings.
Since I had so many sweet mandarins lying around I decided to use both the zest and the juices from this sweet fruit.
You can however substitute the mandarins with the zest of an orange.
All that’s needed is a light or generous dusting of icing sugar just before serving.
This creamy and dreamy tart is especially delightful with your favourite cup of coffee or tea!
Enjoy while still warm or cold.
If you make this recipe remember to tag @marisasitaliankitchen on Instagram so I can see your creation!
Chocolate Orange Ricotta Tart
- FOR THE PASTRY CRUST
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk from a large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- RICOTTA FILLING
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs beaten
- grated zest from 3 small tangerines or 1 large orange
- 2 tablespoons tangerine juice or orange juice
- 2 ounces grated semi-sweet chocolate
- icing sugar for dusting
MAKING THE PASTRY
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and the sugar until smooth.
Add in the egg yolk and beat until thoroughly combined.
Stir the flour into the mixture.
Transfer the mixture to a work surface and work the dough with your hands until you get a smooth pastry dough.
Roll out the pastry dough on a lightly floured work surface and carefully transfer the dough to a 10 inch round tart tin with a removable bottom.
Place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and start making the filling.
Place the ricotta and the mascarpone cheese in a large bowl and beat until smooth.
Add the sugar, eggs, orange juice, zest and beat until thoroughly combined.
Fold in the grated chocolate then pour the mixture over the prepared pastry dough.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the filling is set.
Remove the tart from the oven and let cool in the tin.
Once cooled dust with icing sugar and serve.
Recipe is adapted from Cafe Italia cookbook by Liz Franklin with a few switch ups. I substituted the lemon juice and zest with mandarin juice and zest and added 2 ounces of grated semi-sweet chocolate.The original recipe called for using half the pastry dough, baking it in a 9 inch tart tin for 45 minutes.I used a 10 inch tart tin, used the whole amount of pastry dough and therefore increased the baking time by almost 15 minutes to compensate for a bigger tart.