You can’t beat the berry and cream combination during summer and this time it’s blueberries and ricotta that steal the show. This Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Tart is refreshing, healthier than your average tart, and it looks amazing!
Summer is all about those berries. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries – they are all so amazing when fresh and ripe. Because, even if you can get them out of season, the flavor just isn’t the same.
And during summer, is there anything better than berries and cream? Whether it’s strawberries and custard or raspberries and mascarpone, or now, blueberries and ricotta, there is just something so refreshing about the combination. I can’t get enough during these warm summer months.
But I have been trying to be healthier recently, so I couldn’t be 100% indulgent with my recipe. So I traded out the processed sugar and regular flour for naturally sweet honey and a nutty spelt flour. Not that the substitutions make any impact on how delicious this tart is.
Honey – nature’s sweetener!
Measure for measure, honey is naturally sweeter than granulated sugar. If you don’t need the physically properties of sugar in your dessert, honey is a great way to reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe. This tart only needs a couple of tablespoons for the whole thing.
And while blueberries are not super sweet in the same way really ripe strawberries are, they have their own natural sugars to boost everything further. What you get from blueberries is always more flavor that sugar sweetness – which is why they pair so perfectly with a subtle cream or ricotta! It makes for a blueberry ricotta tart that is almost refreshing while still definitely being a dessert.
Since we already know how healthy spelt is with so much fiber, but still acting like a regular flour, all of this comes together for a delicious summer dessert that you can still feel good about eating. Who says that sweet treats can’t be healthy?
Spelt flour makes a tender pastry
Spelt is a great flour for making tender baked goods. When you work pastry too long, the gluten in the flour creates a tough crust. You have to be careful how much you work pastry when using standard flours because of all the gluten. Spelt contains less gluten than standard all-purpose or whole wheat flour so you don’t have to be as careful.
With the added benefit of all that extra fiber, using spelt as your flour is a great choice in pastry. You get all the extra nutrients, plus a tender, flaky pastry. It’s a great way to incorporate some healthy choices into your desserts. You know I will always still want my tasty treats, I’m just making them a little healthier with some nutrient-rich ingredients.
How to make a perfect flaky crust
Making a pastry is all about keeping everything cold. Cold butter, cold water, and cold cream! Everything as cold as possible. But all that preparation can be wasted if you let the heat of your hands get to the butter. Not only is using a food processor easier for making this kind of pastry – it prevents your hands from heating everything up.
The only thing to be careful about when making flaky pastry in a food processor, is not over mixing the butter or dough. You want to leave some little chunks of butter in the flour before you add the water – that’s where the flakiness comes from! And just pulse a little bit after adding the water and cream. Only enough for the dough to form clumps, otherwise you might get tough pastry.
And while it seems tedious, always refrigerate your pastry after processing, and after rolling. It really makes a big difference. Any time you work with it, the butter starts to melt – especially if it is a warm summer day. So, take a break, put your feet up, and let that pastry chill.
Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Tart
For the crust:
- 2 cups white spelt flour can be substituted with all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks (170g) cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
For the filling:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 lemon zested
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Place the spelt flour, salt, butter, and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the ice water and heavy cream, and process until moist clumps form.
- Gather the dough into a ball and knead it for a minute on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough ball into a disk larger in diameter than your tart pan (I used a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom for this recipe). Line the pan with the dough: on the base and up the sides. Trim the excess and prick the base with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 more minutes.
- Remove from the refrigerator and line with foil with edges hanging over the sides of the tart pan. Fill it with pie weights, uncooked rice, or beans, etc.
- Bake the crust for 20 minutes until the pastry begins to turn light brown. Discard the foil and weights and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until it is dry and the bottom turns lightly golden.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely before adding the filling.
- With a standing mixer or a hand mixer, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Add the ricotta cheese, honey, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Beat until smooth.
- When the crust has cooled, carefully remove it from the pan. Pour the filling inside and smooth it into an even layer. Finally, top with fresh blueberries. Enjoy!