Friday, May 21, 2010

In the kitchen with primitive: a tart for spring.

I never really used to like either pies or tarts, but lately I've been developing an interest in them. Partly, its because they seem more seasonal than any other dessert. Cakes are generally the same throughout the year (aside from some specific holidays), but tarts are so reliant on what's fresh and in season. So last night when my family had a small spring dinner, I had the perfect opportunity to try making a tart fitting the season.

I chose the one featured on the April/May cover of Readymade, a ginger ricotta tart with rhubarb and strawberry jam. I still feel that in many ways I'm just finding my way in the kitchen, so I like making dishes that help familiarize me with new skills or ingredients. This tart was great because it knocked two things off my list: making my own ricotta cheese, and cooking with rhubarb.

I'd been curious to make ricotta because I'd heard it was the easiest cheese to start with. I especially like the idea of making my own cheese in Taiwan, since good cheese in Asia is rare, expensive, and usually imported. I found a recipe at Epicurious, which got an incredible number of reviews saying how easy it was to make, and how delicious the end result was. Making the ricotta would, I think, have been as easy as the reviews said-- had I gone to the somewhat necessary step of making sure we had cheesecloth at home. We didn't. Which had me making a mess of the kitchen just after midnight last night, trying to strain it out through different means. Coffee filters really didn't work at all, but squeezing the liquid through a clean tea-towel sort of did. Anyway, it worked out (mostly, sort of), and I'd love to try making ricotta again (with a cheese-cloth, next time).

But I think this tart would honestly be just as good without making your own ricotta. Buttery flaky crest flavored with ginger, a creamy cheese-cake like filling, and a sour-sweet topping of seasonal fruit. Perfect to celebrate the height of the season.

Anyone else have any favorite spring pies or tarts?


Yoli said...

That looks absolutely DELICIOUS!!!!!

Scho said...

The colour is refreshing. Strawberry can taste a bit like pineapple. Over here, we have pineapple tarts which is usually sweet.

Bordeaux said...

That tart was awesome. I'm still unimpressed about you eating the last slice!