Sunday, May 13, 2012

Something sweet to celebrate Mum

Last weekend, I asked Mum what she wanted for Mother's Day. As always, her response was "Don't buy me anything." We all know that you MUST get something though, and why shouldn't you. Being a Mum myself now, I can understand all the stress and craziness Mums go through and they deserve a day to be celebrated. So, with that in mind I wanted to make something special for my Mum.

We've put Mum through a lot over the years. I don't think you could call us bad kids, we just knew how to "work" Mum and played her... shortcomings. She's the smallest in our family but she moves fast. I like to think she shuffles around the house because she walks fast and does everything quickly. She's also the most prone to stress, so we've used that to our advantage. I remember we'd all gang up on her at the dinner table most nights and tease her so much that you could see the stress starting to build. Then there were the teenage years, which are awful for all parents. I remember having huge fights with Mum, probably over something extremely trivial, and sulking in my room. The sucker my Mum is would always come up to apologise. I'd ignore her and be awful until she felt so bad that she generally back-flipped on whatever we were fighting about.

My Mum is an amazing women. Along with my Dad, she raised 3 children while working full time, getting to the top of her field and being completely respected (and I hear from some people, feared) by her colleagues. My Mum is my role model. Thanks for everything Mum, enjoy the tart!

Crostata di ricotta e marmellata (ricotta and jam tart)

415g (2 3/4 cup) plain flour
100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1 tbs finely grated lemon rind
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
180g chilled butter, chopped
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
320g (1 cup) blackberry jam
Pure icing sugar, to dust
500g fresh ricotta (not low fat!)
70g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs

Combine the flour, sugar, lemon rind, baking powder and salt in a food processor and mix until mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. Whisk together the egg, egg yolk and vanilla in a bowl then add to the flour mix while still mixing. Continue to mix until the dough starts to come together. Remove from processor and knead into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

After 30 minutes, roll out 2/3 of the dough until it is about 1.5/2cms thick. Butter a pie/tart tin with removable base and line it with your dough. Trim the edges and pop back in the fridge while you prepare the filling. 

Scope the jam into a small saucepan and heat over a low heat until it resembles a thick liquid. Set aside to cool slightly. To make the filling, place the ricotta, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat using an electric beater until smooth and combined. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into stripes. Pour the filling into the pie crust and evenly spoon the jam over the top. Finish with the pastry stripes. Put the tin on a baking tray (to avoid any accidents when you pull it out of the oven) and bake for about 45 - 55 minutes, or until golden. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar. Cut into wedges and serve.

Ready for the oven
Note to self, toddler's don't help, they just eat the pastry while your back is turned! 

Fresh from the oven

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