This tart is at its most delicious while still warm, while the pastry is supple and the chocolate still melting.
50g (less then 2 ounces) golden sultanas or raisins
125g (¾ cup) glacé fruits (include something tangy such as tangelo or orange peel)
60ml (4 Tbsp) dry Marsala
400g (about 14 ounces) sweet shortcrust pastry (ready-made for ease)
400g (about 14 ounces) ricotta
50g (about ¼ cup) caster (superfine granulated) sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
3 small eggs
50g (less than 2 ounces) dark chocolate (do not use sweet chocolate), roughly chopped
Finely grated zest 1 lemon
1 Put the raisins and coarsely chopped glacé fruits in a bowl and pour on the Marsala. Soak for 1 hour.
2 Roll out pastry thinly and line into a 21” (8½”) flan ring or loose-bottomed tin. Lightly prick the pastry, then chill. Gently knead any pastry scraps together and roll out thinly. Chill, then cut into long strips. Keep chilled until required.
3 When pastry is firm, about 40 minutes, line it with baking (parchment) paper and fill with baking beans. Have oven preheated to 180°C (350°F). Bake pastry for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and lift off beans in the paper. Cool pastry.
4 Pass ricotta cheese through a sieve into a large bowl and beat in sugar. Add one whole yolk and 2 egg yolks and beat together for a minute or two; reserve some egg white for brushing pastry. Mix in chocolate and lemon zest, and lastly the fruit and Marsala. Tip filling into pastry case.
5 Lay strips of pastry on top in a lattice pattern, sticking them to the pastry edge with a dab of cold water. Lightly beat a little egg white with a fork until fluffy then brush over the pastry strips and edge. Sift over a little caster sugar.
6 Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Cool briefly, then remove from the tin and cool.
It was one of those days … I decided to make this tart and went shopping for the ricotta, knowing I had the glacé fruits and Marsala. The Marsala I had (several bottles, in fact, ‘cos I LOVE it!), but I couldn’t find the glacé fruits. Then I remembered, of course, they were in Auckland. This is the curse of cooking in two kitchens – you see things in the fridge, go to get them, but they in the fridge in the other house. I had to improvise. I used half a cup of pale sultanas, 3 chopped dried figs and 3 cubes of chopped crystallised ginger. I rattled through the cupboards and found sour cherries, which I have too say, was an inspired choice. They were delicious and hard to stop nibbling on. So, 2 tablespoons of sour cherries, oh, and the grated zest of a mandarin simply because it was within arm’s reach. The result? Quite possibly better than the original!