I asked CSC, our resident baker, to make this tart from Mario Batali's Molto Italianobecause we had a jar of ricotta cheese in the fridge.
left and right: from Mario Batali's Molto Italiano
I'm used to recipes from America's Test Kitchen. This recipe was not as clear and fool-proof as those.
I just did the mixing of the ingredients for the filling. That was easy enough. So that's ricotta, eggs, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. I don't like pinenuts, so I made an executive decision and substituted roast chopped almonds.
Wow, CSC is defying Mario!
TS had to do the dough -- and a good thing, too, because I didn’t have a clue how to “roll out the dough”.
The recipe said to knead the dough until smooth, didn’t really say how long. Learned from TS that it’s really not a good idea to knead too much because the dough will be too tough. (I think I was imagining bread dough where you really get your hands in there and knead, knead, knead.)
TS' trying ordeal
The first half of the dough rolling turned out to be quite tricky. The dough didn’t really roll out smoothly, even after chilling it. When TS tried to lift it out, it was stuck to the countertop. So she had to “slice” it off the countertop and slowly roll it onto itself. Even rolling it onto the rolling pin wouldn’t work because the dough kept cracking. Then she had to “patch up” the cracks and empty spots on the pie plate.
[ts] Above: my very Trying Ordeal in pictures.
I'm no pastry chef, but I have rolled out pastry dough before! Different kinds of pastry. This was a really tricky one, though. I don't know what kind of dough it was. It was very greasy! It had olive oil and melted butter (as opposed to chunks or cold solid pieces of butter), and contained egg yolks and sugar. It also called for using the well method for mixing the ingredients.
So, again, inspired by America's Test Kitchen, I suggested that she roll out the 2nd half of the dough on parchment paper. At first, we needed another set of hands to hold the parchment in place, but turned out, TS didn’t have to “roll out” the dough...
She had to BEAT it to shape!!!
She even broke the rolling pin and assembled it back again midstream.
The beating worked out fine, though. The dough tore less since it wasn't being pulled outwards. I finally was able to fill the bottom crust and top it off. An eggwash, then into the oven.
Its golden self:
Besides the really chunky almonds, ours looks like Mario's! Look! (With that fork and all.)
I must say, all the “technical” details were not specified on the recipe. So for a newbie like me, I probably would have already abandoned the project without outside help. As for the results of the pie, I don’t know because I might have become allergic to almonds (with the “husk”/skin on)… so I didn’t want to taste it. Hahahaha.
I thought this tart would be good.
I was disappointed with the end result. I didn't taste like I expected it to be, and there was too much "perfume" to the tart that I didn't particularly like. "Perfume," in this case, was the smell of vanilla that didn't seem to go with the overall tart. I didn't like the egg-washed finish of the top tart shell as well.
I don't know how the tart shell is supposed to be like, but this one was crumb-y-break-y, not flaky at all (I didn't think it was supposed to be flaky), but not firm as well.
Not something I would ask CSC to make again. Maybe we did something wrong but this one was not for me at all. I was all set to fall in love with this tart too.
This was just "OK" for me. I didn't mind the tart shell, but I wasn't too keen on the filling.
Oh no! Has Mario led us astray?
Perhaps someone can make this tart (from Mario Batali's Molto Italiano) and tell us how theirs turn out.
We're submitting this to first thursdays at THURSDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN(!!!!). We don't usually cook from actual recipes, but Fortune must have been smiling down upon us, seeing as we made this just in time for this event at THURSDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN(!!!!). (I like saying SMACKDOWN(!!!!).)
CSC and CSC-collaborated blog posts:
Mario's Pine Nut and Ricotta Tart
Shanghai Potstickers, Faux Siu Mai and "Huo Tyeh" (aka CSC's Chinese Dumplings)
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Quick and Rice Chocolate Frosting
First Thursday posts:
Mario's Pine Nut and Ricotta Tart
Radishes, Three Ways
Semi-Lime-Cooked, Semi-Yucatecan Shrimp with Garlic Chips
Lemon Feta Dip
Wednesday, July 02, 2008