Thursday, October 8, 2009

Apple & Ricotta Tartlets

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My mom has been making homemade ricotta since I was a little girl. It evokes for me the scents of our small kitchen and the feel of her linen apron against my cheek as the soft, fresh whiteness of the cheese magically turned into tarts, fritters and other such delicacies that I adored. When I moved out on my own, I had this crazy idea that I should learn how to do it myself, but then I decided to take the easy way out and punted back to my mom, and she still makes ricotta for me any time I like. What can I say, I'm a spoiled kid!

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Z_Dump for Photos1

To tell you the truth, what I love doing best is just eating it straight from the little glass bowl that I usually get in my goodie bag, but this time, mom outdid herself and the bowl was so large that I was practically forced to use it in other ways. There's only so much ricotta and honey on toast that a girl can take, you know.

I decided to create a little afternoon snack - to go with a cup of tea, perhaps - and since the cooler weather inevitably brings out my inner Brit, I wanted it to be a dainty confection, as fun to make as it is to eat. After I took these out of the oven, I thanked my lucky stars that I was afternoon-tea-ing by myself today because no way would I have shared any of these with anyone else. Ok, maybe I would have shared with my mom, but that's it! The tender, delicate apples cupped a custard-like nugget of sweet ricotta, and the smell of it all, of apple orchards and afternoons in my mom's kitchen, almost sent me into another world. Instead of life being like a bowl of cherries, I'd much rather that it be like these wonderful little tartlets - you know exactly what you're going to get, and it's going to be delicious.

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Apple and Ricotta Tartlets
(makes about 8 servings)

8 oz fresh ricotta cheese
4 medium apples (I used Gala, but any firm variety will do)
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
butter for buttering muffin tin

Turn oven to 350F and butter well 8 cups in a standard-sized muffin tin. Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the stem and the core. Then, slice the apples into as thin slices as you can manage - the thinner, the better. If the slices are too thick, they won't bend and you'll end up with a bunch of broken pieces which, although delicious, isn't what you're aiming for here.

In a small bowl, mix the ricotta with the egg, sugar and vanilla extract until everything is well incorporated.

Arrange the apple slices in overlapping circles inside the muffin cups. They will look like flowers with a large opening in the middle. Drop ricotta into the opening, doming it a little on the top.

Bake for about 30-35 min, until the apples are very tender and the filling is set and slightly puffed. Let cool for a few minutes and then gently remove with a fork or a small spatula. Serve warm.

39 comments:

Helene said...

Homemade ricotta. That must be delicious. And your tartlets are beautiful.

Elra said...

I'm speechless, they are so pretty....

Katie said...

Just beautiful. I love how the apple slices form the outer 'crust' for the filling. They look like rose petals

Happy cook said...

It is so beautiful fully done, the apples are like roses.

Grace said...

although the ricotta intimidates me a bit, i have to commend you on your fine crust work--it's exquisite! gorgeous, gorgeous creation, irene!

nicole said...

Oh, that's pretty. I love how the thin apple slices resemble flower petals. This looks ridiculously good!

Junglefrog said...

Did you come up with that by yourself? To place the apples on the outside I mean? I think it is genius and it looks so pretty too!

Nutmeg Nanny said...

Your tarts look great! I love that your mom makes you homemade ricotta...if I asked my mom to make some for me should would probably ask me what it is....haha.

Bunny said...

Beautiful, delicate, delicious...those are the words that come to my mind when I look at these tartlets

Elizabeth said...

Oh, wow! The way you layered the apple slices in the muffin tins is so innovative. Really cool!

creampuff said...

These are absolutely brilliant and so pretty!!!

Y said...

What a beautiful idea! I love your apple 'crust'!

Jane said...

These are creative, lovely,and surely delicious. And how wonderful that they include homemade ricotta from your mom. You're a talented cook, photographer, and a lucky girl!

veron said...

this looks perfect. I love apple desserts!

scout's true north said...

delicate and beautiful. i'm certain they taste amazing. thanks for sharing your creativity and memories of your mom's kitchen.

The Caked Crusader said...

oh yum - I'm also on an apple baking kick at the moment - must be something to do with the weather!

Dawn said...

These look way to good to be true...can I borrow your mom? ;) Thanks so much for sharing!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Fabulous!
I may have to bookmark this for a rainy day.

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said...

They're gorgeous! And homemade ricotta -- yum!

Karine said...

Homemade ricotta must be amazing! My mom treats you really well:)

Your tartlets sound amazing! Thanks for sharing:)

Manggy said...

When I saw the picture at first, I thought- wow, how romantically the pastry's falling! But then I realized it's apples! Very creative :) Apples and cheese are a winning combination, too! :)

Juliana said...

Absolutely great! Love the idea of using apples as "crust", what a creativity :-)

Natalie said...

What a beautiful little tartlet, I love the idea of using the apple as the 'crust', they look like little roses.

Errin said...

These look sooo delicious. I can't wait to give them a whirl. I like your idea to use the apples as a shell of sorts.

Barbara said...

I am so impresssed! Homemade ricotta and in those adorable apple lined tart shells! What a super idea- I can't wait to try it. (But think I will buy the ricotta. :)

Ash said...

These are just the coolest! I love the apple crust!!

El said...

These are beautiful and creative tarts. I've never seen anything like them Thanks for the idea!

Snooky doodle said...

What a nice blog. These tartlets look really good. yummy. Nice idea of making apple slices. Regarding my pumpkin cake recipe. I think you ll have to half the recipe since it s for a 10 cup bundt pan. but depends on size of loaf pan.

TheNoshery said...

These are breautiful and I will be trying them sometime in the future. I have a mild obsession with being creative with a muffin pan and these definatly qualify.

Thank you for the beautiful recipe.

ARLENE said...

Beautiful! I love lots of cinnamon on my apples. I'm going to try a lightened version of these.

Kate said...

Can not wait to make these! I love your blog!...if I go 20 posts back, thats a good blog:)
I just moved to Hollywood from Vegas. What is your favourite hike/trail on the area?
XO
Kate

Su-yin said...

This is really interesting, I love both apples and ricotta and I'm sure they'd go well together! Thanks for the recipe.

Valerie said...

These are gorgeous and I'm sure they are divine!

kellypea said...

Beautiful memories, and great photos. I've always wanted to make my own ricotta and have gotten close, then never get to it. What a perfect recipe.

Kelly said...

These are so beautiful I had to try them! Have to say it took me a while to figure out a good technique of apple slicing/placement. And my oven tends to overheat so I think that sort of messed everything up - that said the TASTE was DELICIOUS and I'll be trying it again :) Such a neat idea :) (or maybe I'll make a spinoff in pastry crust to make it easier, hah!

Girl Foodie said...

I only just discovered you blog (Thanks Stumble Upon!) and OMG, I LOVE it! I adore these little tartlets and the stories which accompany your recipes. I can tell that several hours will be spent surfing your blog now.
Thanks for sharing!

Julia said...

I may make these for mother's day. They are so cute and the flavors, yum!

monica said...

make your own ricotta??? I thought cows did that. Your Mom sounds awesome...so do the tarts, thanks!

Ale said...

Thank you for this delicious recipe!!!!
Your blog is wonderful :-)
Ale