Dare we say spring is finally here?! Oh my gosh, say it isn’t so! Fate tempters, right here!! I swear it’s spring in the PNW, because we’ve actually managed to see a couple of days of blue skies in amongst the gray and the frogs have reemerged. Quite loudly I might add… Ben and I live couple hundred yards off a small highway that puts off a lot of noise (definitely not the country life we long for…), but in between us and the highway there is a small detention pond that is now the habitat for a ridiculous amount of frogs. Nope, haven’t actually seen them (I probably would have run into the hills never to be seen again) – but oh dang, can I hear them. We can hear them in the apartment, over the traffic. They’re like our own personal little white noise machines.
Even Huck has become curious about them. On walks around our neighborhood, if the frogs are out chirping and ribbitting away and the 90 pound Labradork with his big old schnoz gets on their grass, near their pond, they promptly Stop. Right there, mid-ribbitt. As we keep walking you can hear them start again, one at a time, like a test ribbitt – ” Hey Frank, is the coast clear?”, “Yeah, man I think he’s gone”. “Dude, Bill that dog just peed all over your lilly pad. Bummer.”
I pretty much imagine they sound like equal parts Fat Tony and Aston Kutcher as Kelso. How it works, I don’t know – but in my head it’s totally the way they sound.
So with spring here, and the frogs out and about – it’s time to bring some freshness into the mix. I have been craving these for months and always get distracted by a bumble bee or something because inevitably something else always got made. I was one track minded this winter with breads and cookies, that I didn’t give tarts the time they deserved. I’m a terrible person. But now I’m making up for lost time.
I love the mini tart concept because one, miniature food is adorable. You can’t deny it. And two, they’re much easier to serve and hold. But if I were to make it again, I might just go for a full size tart. The crust held up really well with the ricotta filling and you can fit WAYYYYY more filling into a full size tart. As adorable as mini things are – things filled with copious amounts of filing are even better. Just speaking the truth here. Just be sure to top it with some homemade whipped cream when you’re done. That’s an order.
Lemon Ricotta Tarts
1 ½ cup Flour
¾ cup Butter, cubed and frozen
⅓ tsp Salt
4 Tbsp Water, cold
Lemon Ricotta Filling:
1 cup Ricotta
¼ cup Cream Cheese, softened
1 tsp Vanilla
¼ cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 ½ tsp Lemon Zest
In a food processor, pulse flour and salt together to combine. Add in butter and pulse until small pea sized balls form. Turn food processor on and add in 3-4 tablespoons of cold water and allow the processor to run until a ball of dough forms. Remove from processor. Flatten dough ball and place in a plastic bag and place dough in fridge to chill for about 30 minutes. Remove dough from fridge and roll into a 12 inch diameter disk. Place in tart pan and allow to chill in fridge or freeze for 15 minutes. While in fridge begin to prepare ricotta filling.
Preheat oven to 350. Place aluminum foil on top of the pie crust and add pie weights into the top of the foil. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes or until just golden brown.
In a large bowl with a wire whisk - beat together ricotta and cream cheese until smooth. Add in eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, zest and sugar. Pour into partially baked pie crust. Bake tart for 25-30 minutes or until the middle just remains slightly jiggly. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
If making mini-tarts - prepare mini tins similarly to the standard size tart pan, fit dough to mini tarts pans, chill, and bake the same time as the standard size pan. Fill with ricotta and lemon and bake for 15 minutes or until the middle is just barely jiggling.