Thursday, April 14, 2016

strawberry ricotta tartlets with maple crust

I feel great. I just successfully completed the laziest (and the last!) high school spring break of all time. I feel all loose and floaty. To give you an idea,  usually I am strongly opposed to Christmas music outside of the last three months of the year, but Silent Night Michael Buble Version came up on my Spotify today, and instead of skipping it angrily, I belted it with the windows rolled down. What a rush.

Another thing I did was make these baby strawberry ricotta tartlets in my silicone muffin molds. Consistent with my spring break attitude, I totally winged it (which more often than not ends in disaster) and somehow, they came out beautifully.

Well, I didn't do it all on my own–remember that YouTube channel, Peaceful Cuisine, that I wrote about in WE DID IT #3? My crusts were inspired by the crust Ryoya made for his vegan lemon meringue tart, which uses only flour, maple syrup, and oil. His recipe was in grams, so I just made general approximations, tried some variations, and added a bit of salt. They turned out crisp, sweet and sturdy but tender, like shortbread, and the maple really shined through thanks to the simple ingredients. Also, through the measly two days that these tartlets lasted in our fridge, the crusts really held their own. Thanks Ryoya!

To fill the shells, I simply pulsed together fresh ricotta, a bit of cream cheese for richness, raw honey, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Mixing in the food processor allows you to get rid of the slight graininess of ricotta so everything comes together into a smooth, plush cream.

And then came the impossible task: arrange the strawberries. I can't even tell you how many Pinterest strawberry tarts I scrolled through... unfortunately, the mutant non-organic strawberries I used (the only ones I could find at Vons!) were ENORMOUS. Like, these strawberries eat dainty Pinterest strawberries for breakfast. Anyways, I'm still not convinced I made the right decision, but I ended up slicing them lengthwise and sticking them in pairs into the cream. I think it would be better to have more strawberry in each tart, but oh well. Tell me if you think of a better idea.

P.S. sooo over the top excited to visit UC Berkeley for Cal Day!! Lois and I are leaving unnecessarily early so we have time to explore Berkeley and San Francisco. Our designated two-person food crew has meticulously put together a very long list of restaurants/cafes, so I'm expecting to double, maybe triple in size before I get back. :) Right now I'm thinking I'll make a special WE MADE IT on our trip. Stay tuned!

Strawberry Ricotta Tartlets
yield: 8 tartlets

3/4 cup ricotta (wrap in cheesecloth and squeeze out excess liquid)
4 oz. cream cheese
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour, minus 2 tablespoons
1/4 cup oil (I used a mild olive oil)
1/4 cup maple syrup

7 medium strawberries

For the Crusts:

Have 8-10 silicone muffin liners, or a muffin pan, at the ready. No need to grease! (Note: paper/foil muffin liners are not sturdy enough for this.)

Stir together maple syrup and oil. Add the flour and salt and mix together (try to fold gently so you don't get a tough, chewy crust) until it combines into an even mass. You can go ahead and fold it over itself a couple times to make sure everything is incorporated.

Take about 2 tablespoons of dough (adjust according to the size of your muffin tins) and put them in a liner. Using your fingers, press the dough into the liner and all the way up the sides. The crusts turn out very crisp and sturdy, so don't be afraid to get them quite thin. If you are using normal-sized liners, 2 tablespoons should be just enough. Repeat the process for the rest of the liners.

Refrigerate the unbaked crusts for 30 minutes. Sometime during your wait, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Before putting them in the oven, use a fork to make deep pricks in the bottoms of the crusts. Bake them for 9 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are deeply golden. Let the crusts cool for a few minutes, and then gently turn them out of their muffin molds and place them on a cooling rack.

For the Cream:

In a food processor, blitz together all the ingredients listed until smooth. That's it.


With a spoon, fill the shells about 3/4 of the way, or more if you have extra, of course. (alternatively, you could just eat the extra like I did.) Put the tarts in the fridge to set for about an hour.

Cut strawberries into vertical slices–you should get about three cross-sections plus the front and back ends. You can eat the end pieces, or use them as well. Stick two slices in each tart like I did, or just do whatever you want with them. 

You can serve them immediately, but they also keep in the fridge really well for a few days. If you need to keep them a while before serving, you may want to wait to put the strawberries in until right before so that they look fresh.



  2. My favorite color is Hot PINK! I love what you said about people commenting to let you know physical humans are reading your post!!!! The placement of your strawberries came out beautifully! Love this post and your sense of humor!

    Xoxo, Alethea

    1. awww, thanks Alethea!! so glad you commented–I love pink too!

  3. these are so v cute!!!! my favorite color is peach :^D