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A sweet ricotta tart (crostata) to celebrate a new awareness

Sweet ricotta tart recipe

I am a reserved person.
I don’t usually talk about my feelings or problems.

I don’t remember doing so with such sincerity in my buckwheat cake post (HERE).
In January 2019, I asked myself where to find the strength to get through a difficult time.

After three years and a long fall, I am here to share the answer.
And the recipe for ricotta tart.

In a society that only admits success, people going through a difficult time may feel crushed and pushed aside. But falling and feeling bad is part of life.
It is the reason why I have decided to share a personal moment of difficulty here.
I hope my story can help someone.
Because no one should feel wrong or alone when faced with a problem.

Sweet ricotta tart recipe

A short introduction

The crisis, I realized today, was a sum of problems.

Wrong work choices and old situations that were never resolved.

The Covid made everything more complicated.

Age was also a problem.
I was 47 years old, about to reach a significant milestone, and felt broken.
Life was not as I knew it, which was a big race.
I was standing in front of an abyss, and it scared me.

Friends, or those I thought they were, have disappeared. All of them.

Finally, I was so emotionally weak that I became ill.
Surgeries, with very heavy before and after, medical tests, and all kinds of pain. Until I felt terrible tooth pain, but there was no inflammation.
The doctor told me: things go well until the body expels the pain. But you need to solve your problems.

Meanwhile, the voice in my head said this:
“You are a failure. You are nothing, and no one wants you”.

The insistence on blaming myself for everything, thinking I was wrong and not doing or knowing how to do enough, the inability to protect myself from selfish people.

The depression. I spent months crying every day.
The months turned into almost three years.

Sweet ricotta tart

And then..

At first, I started to dispose of things. Even those that I thought were impossible to sell or regard. And the more decluttering I did, the better I felt. Then I removed harmful people from my heart, sometimes with sadness, but without regret.

Relieved, I breathed.

Then came one important step. Accepting my age and a new season of life, completely different from the previous one. It happened when my beloved dog, who shared a happy decade with us, the one from 40 to 50, died. After her loss, I thought about the time and that I had wasted three long years in depression, tears, illness.

If I were to tell you how many deserts I have crossed, you would be surprised that a “jump” gone wrong could have produced such a huge problem.

But it was just when I broke the pattern of depression, little by little, that I became rational again.

To answer the question, where to find the strength to overcome difficulties, I understood that it was already all within me. But I did NOT want to be well because depression feeds on the malaise it causes.

I will not start here a reflection that would take me far from my skills as a historian and food writer.

The only thing I can say is that if you are in a comfortable and, at the same time, poisonous cocoon, either find the strength to get out yourself or seek a therapist.

I have done both. And I discovered that, at the age of 50, women often go into crisis.

In recent months, something has changed in the mood I look at life.
What has happened to the hunger for life, energy, courage, and feeling of having infinite time at my disposal, of my thirties? It’s all still there, just in different quantities.

Except for one thing. Now I can feel time passing, and I know it is not infinite. Maybe that happens when you have more life behind you than in front of you.

Sweet ricotta tart

It is this awareness that represents the change

Acquiring and handling it scared me until I realized it was a precious gift.

I cannot help you chase away the melancholy of the passing time. I have to deal with it and be careful as it is a dangerous traveling companion.

But you can count the days or bring in a new ally, the awareness of what you have had and what you can still have if you don’t waste time. Try to focus on what you want instead of being a “sad hourglass” of your time.

And surround yourself only with sincere and loving people.
Because from here on, life is so short.

Awareness is my word of 2022.

And this ricotta tart is the best dessert to accompany a post about rebirth. If you are reborn, do you deserve a sumptuous dessert or not?

Yes, that’s how I feel. Reborn. And before talking about the dessert, I would like to add one last thing.

Thank you Cook Reader.
Three years ago, I thought no one would read the blog or cook one of my recipes

Then came the comments, the messages on social networks, and the photographs of the recipes made by those who follow me.

During these three difficult years, Tortellini&CO has been an invaluable appointment.
It has been a great support cooking, researching, writing, and talking with you.
For this, I thank you wholeheartedly.

When you are sick and closed in on yourself, anything that breaks the isolation is good.
We never know how we can ‘touch’ others. I have learned that even a virtual smile can make a difference. Thank you.

Italian Grandma's Recipes

Sweet ricotta tart

Essence versus appearance.
It has a significant appearance. Perhaps because of the high edges or the cover that hides the filling and lets the imagination fly.

But it is a tart, one of the simplest and most popular desserts in the home kitchen, and with a ricotta filling, just as simple and often used in home baking.

And, like apple pie, I think every Italian family has one or more versions of ricotta cakes.

This ricotta tart was for Sunday lunch or special snacks for guests or at children’s parties.

Having salvaged some cherries from last summer on the bottom of a box in the freezer, I used fruit (after cooking) and chocolate chips in the filling.

You can use any cooked fruit you like: peaches, sour cherries, or cherries. The important thing is that they are cooked and drained of their liquid. Or sultanas or chocolate chips or a mixture of whatever you like.

This tart is a rich cake in the quantities of the ingredients that make up the filling and the shortcrust, which must be tall and stand upright even after cutting.

If you want to take away some of this or that, it is better to choose another cake.

But if you’re looking for a good cake that will be appreciated for sure by your guests and family, you have to try it.

Buona cucina, Monica

Cook with me

You can find more sweet and savory tart recipes on the blog (here).

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Sweet ricotta tart recipe

Sweet ricotta tart recipe

for 6-8 slices
hinged round mold, 23cm diameter
List of Ingredients

short pastry

300 g cake flour
2 medium eggs
150 g butter
150 g sugar
grated rind of half a natural lemon
pinch of salt


500 g cow’s milk ricotta
150 g icing sugar
1 medium egg
grated rind of half a natural lemon
a few drops of lemon juice
50 g dark chocolate chips or canned cherries


Cut cold butter into little chunks.

Combine the shortcrust ingredients in a bowl and knead.
Then, transfer the dough from the bowl to a clean surface and knead until firm and well mixed.
Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for one to two hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

In a bowl, mix the ricotta with a spoon or hand whisk for 5 minutes to give it a soft, airy consistency. Add sugar, egg, lemon zest, and juice (a few drops) and mix, keeping the chocolate chips or fruit of your choice to one side. Cover the bowl and leave it to set in the fridge.

Set aside a third of the dough before rolling out the shortcrust pastry.

Roll out the rest of the dough between two sheets of greaseproof paper, moistened and squeezed, or on a single sheet of wet kitchen paper, but in this case, wet the rolling pin frequently under cold running water.

Roll out the dough to a height of 5 ml and, using the baking paper, place the shortcrust pastry on the bottom of the baking tray covering the sides of the tray up to the edge.

To shape the shortcrust pastry, moisten your fingertips frequently in cold water at this stage (for convenience, place a bowl near your workstation).

With the prongs of a fork, prick the bottom and inner edges of the tart.

Place the fruit on the bottom after draining it of its liquid (cherries, sour cherries, peaches, you can use whatever you like). Completely cover the bottom with a thin but even layer of fruit or chocolate chips.

Place the ricotta cream on the fruit and even out the surface. The cream should reach the edge of the dough. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Roll out the leftover shortcrust pastry into a thin layer, prick with the prongs of a fork and cover the tart.

Put the tin to rest in the fridge for an hour.

When the cake’s resting time is coming to an end, turn the oven to 200C degrees. Place in the oven and lower the temperature to 180C degrees. Bake it for about 45 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and do not move it from the mold. If it is hinged, do not open.

Let it cool completely before removing the ricotta tart from the mold (it takes a few hours), place it on a serving plate, sprinkle with a light dusting of icing sugar, and cut.

It will keep for 3-4 days.

Ricette della nonna


  • RachH
    Posted 25 March 2022 at 6:36 PM

    This is a beautiful post, and a beautiful dessert. I am going through a difficult time right now, but reading this made me feel like I could exhale for the first time in quite a while. Thank you for what you wrote. I look forward to making this lovely tart very soon.

    • Post Author
      Posted 26 March 2022 at 3:24 PM

      Ciao Rachel, take your time to resume breathing, living, and cooking. When I read: life is beautiful, always I think I would want even to read that it is not a rule but a goal. Often, the most critical goal to achieve. Un abbraccio, Monica

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