Recipe: Lemon Ricotta Tart


Our love of lemons continues.

By: Francesca Montillo

If you have seen some of my other recipes, you know my love affair with lemons. I love lemon anything. Be it in savory or sweet dishes, anything with lemon is sure to go well with me. This recipe is a family favorite because it’s super easy to prepare, there’s no pre-baking of the crust and the filling literally takes less than 5 minutes to put together. Plus, the main ingredient is ricotta, another family favorite.  

The hardest part of this tart is the rolling out of the dough and carefully adding it to the pan. They key with that is making sure you have a reasonably cold crust. I refrigerate the crust for a minimum of 1 hour, but you could certainly let it go longer. Prep the crust in the morning, run a few errands and bake the tart upon returning home. The other key step is making sure you don’t overbeat the filling. With 4 eggs in the mix, this can easily go from just right, to a watery, soupy mixture in no time, so just make sure to not overbeat.  

I decorate it very plainly with just a few lemon slices and some powdered sugar. You could add strawberries, blueberries or some whipped cream just upon serving. It’s wonderful when eaten within the same day, but if you don’t serve the entire tart at once, this needs to be refrigerated.  

Ingredients for the crust: 

1 cup all purpose flour  

3 tablespoons granulated sugar 

1/4 teaspoon baking powder 

Zest of 1 lemon 

1/8 teaspoon salt 

4 tablespoons butter, cold and cut up in dices 

1 egg, lightly beaten 

The filling: 

1 15 oz container whole milk ricotta (if the ricotta is watery, drain for 15 minutes)  

¼ cup granulated sugar 

1 tablespoon limoncello (optional)  

Zest of 1 lemon 

4 eggs 

Instructions 

The crust: 

  1. In a food processor combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, zest and salt and pulse a few times, quickly.  
  2. Add the pieces of butter and again quickly pulse a few times, until the mixture looks like coarse ground meal. 
  3. Add the egg and again pulse quickly until the dough starts coming together. 
  4. Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface, form into a smooth disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (During the last 5 – 10 minutes of the refrigerated time, prepare the filling.)  

The filling: 

  1. Add the ricotta to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, alternatively, you can use a hand-held mixer, and beat the ricotta on low speed for just about 20 – 30 seconds. Do not overbeat or ricotta will turn watery.  
  1. Add the sugar, and limoncello, if using, and continue to beat for an additional 20 – 30 seconds, just until incorporated. Add the lemon zest.  
  1. With the mixer still on the lowest setting, add the eggs one at a time, making sure the previous egg is incorporated before adding the next egg. Scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.   

The assembly: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch or 12-inch round pan with non-stick cooking spray. (I prefer using a tart pan with a removable bottom.)  
  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle about 1/8 of an inch in thickness. Fold the circle in half, then in quarters and carefully add to pan, unfolding to cover the entire surface.  
  • Pour the prepared filling. And bake for about 38 – 42 minutes or until the center filling is firm. Cool completely before removing from the pan. Tart can be served immediately after cooling, or refrigerated until served 

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