Sweet Strawberry And Whipped Vanilla Ricotta Tart
I love a dessert that celebrates seasonal produce, and this tart does a stellar job of it. Using really simple ingredients and flavours, the creamy ricotta filling and crumbly tart crust perfectly complement the strawberries, enhancing the dessert experience, while still tasting the fruit.
I’ve always hated recipes that douse fresh fruit in sugar, technically called macerating, which only draws out liquid affecting the integrity of the fruit, and masking its natural flavour with excessive sweetness. It’s a crime against beautiful fresh produce, which if seasonal and grown well, should taste perfectly sweet and juicy on its own. You won’t find this technique in any of my recipes!
Why you’ll love this tart
- It’s low in carbohydrates and free of sugar.
- It’s simple, light and fresh, perfect for a Spring dessert when you don’t want anything too heavy or overpowering.
- The base can be made and cooked in advance, even the day before, so upon serving all you have to do is add the filling and topping. Although you can make the whole thing a few hours in advance too.
- You can use any fruit that is in season. It works perfectly with any kind of berry or stone fruit.
Ingredients for a gluten-free and grain-free tart crust
Blanched almond meal – This is simply ground up almonds, that’s it! The key with this ingredient is that the almonds have been skinned, and it makes it very different from almond meal where there is still skin. You can tell it is blanched, if the colour is a uniform pale yellow. If there is flecks of brown, this means it is not blanched. I always use blanched almond meal in dessert recipes, as you end up with a softer, more delicate and sweeter result.
Coconut flour – This is a flour made from dehydrated coconut flesh. It can be difficult to use as it is very dry and soaks up liquid, however it makes for the perfect tart base as it provides stability and fine crumb to the recipe.
Unsalted butter – For me, a tart crust must have butter in it, as it creates the most beautiful texture and shortbread like flavour. You can use it softened in this recipe, otherwise melted works too. You want to heat it only until it’s just melted, a few soft chunks is fine.
Salt – Use a fine salt here, instead of a rock salt or sea salt, as it disperses evenly throughout the base. Fine salt is a great thing to have on hand for baking recipes. I recommend a Himalayan pink salt which comes in both flakes and fine.
Egg – To bind the dough together. Use a pastured medium size egg, preferably at room temperature.
Ingredients for the whipped ricotta vanilla bean filling
Smooth ricotta – This is a very creamy Italian cheese with a slight graininess that can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes. It comes in both firm and smooth forms, which speak to slightly different methods of production. For this recipe you want the smooth one!
Vanilla bean – I love the little flecks of vanilla to be visible in a recipe, especially one as simple as this.
Lemon zest – This adds a touch of beautiful lemon flavour. Use a fine zester.
Powdered sugar-free sweetener – This is a powdered version of an erythritol based sweetener. It looks and tastes like icing sugar, but there is no sugar in it. You can find it in supermarkets, and normally in Australia it is labeled as powdered “monk fruit sweetener”, which is a bit misleading since it is mainly erythritol and is nothing like pure monk fruit. Look for brands Lakanto or Whole Earth.
If you would prefer, maple syrup and honey work beautifully in this recipe too. Honey is my favourite as it goes so well with the ricotta and strawberries.
Tips for making this Sweet Strawberry And Whipped Vanilla Ricotta Tart
- Use a tart tin with a removable bottom to make for an easier removal process. You don’t want to crack all of your hard work!
- If you don’t have a tart tin with a removable bottom, you may want to keep the whole thing in the tin and serve it out of there.
- Do not add the filling if the crust hasn’t completely cooled to room temperature. This will result in a melted filling and a soggy crust.
- Do not use low fat ricotta.
- This recipe required blind baking, which means you bake the crust weighted down. You can use pastry weights if you have them, otherwise uncooked legumes or rice works perfectly too. See a visual example of blind baking here.
- If you need to prepare in advance, you can make the crust the day before and store it in an airtight container overnight. Otherwise the fully made tart will be fine sitting at room temperature for a few hours.
Sweet Strawberry And Whipped Vanilla Ricotta Tart
A delicious and show stopping dessert with a creamy ricotta filling, crumbly gluten free base and juicy strawberries.
Almond Coconut Crust
- ½ cup coconut flour
- 1 ½ cup blanched almond meal
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- 110g unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
- 1 egg, beaten
Whipped Vanilla Bean Ricotta
- 2 cups smooth ricotta
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- ¼ cup powdered Lakanto OR ¼ cup honey
- 1 lemon, zested
- 3 cups strawberries, sliced, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 190°C and grease a 23cm removable bottom tart tin with butter. To make the base, combine the almond meal and coconut flour in a large bowl (you may want to pass these through a sieve if they are clumpy). Add in the salt.
- Pour in the melted butter and stir to combine, then add in the beaten egg. Combine to form a dough, using your hands if needed.
- Press the dough into the tart tin, working it up the sides all the way to the top. If gaps appear, simply patch up with dough. When smoothed out, prick the base about 5-7 times with a fork.
- Place a sheet of baking paper over the top and pour in pastry weights or uncooked rice or legumes to weigh it down.
- Blind bake (with the pastry weights) for 10-15 minutes, then take it out and carefully remove the weighted baking paper. Place back in the oven for 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. Do not skip this step.
- When the base is completely cooled to room temperature, prepare the filling. To make the filling, place the ricotta, vanilla bean, lemon zest and sweetener in a bowl and whisk with electric beaters for about 4 minutes until fluffy.
- Spread into the cooled base and top with sliced strawberries. Serve.
- Lakanto is an erythritol based sweetener. You can use another brand too, as long as it is powdered and erythritol based.
- Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that forms the base of many granular “sugar free sweeteners”. , including my product recommendations. The use of erythritol in this recipe is what makes it low-carb and/or keto friendly. If this is not a worry for you, the best substitution is coconut sugar which can be used in the same quantity. Please know that the use of coconut sugar takes away the sugar-free status of this recipe and may alter the colour of the finished product.
- Honey or maple syrup works in this recipe too, although it won’t be entirely sugar free, it will still be very low in sugar per serve. Read my sugar philosophy here.
- No vanilla bean? You can use 1 tsp vanilla extract instead.
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