This idea was inspired by an Italian dad I interviewed who once told me he would make a very simple ricotta and Nutella pudding for his kids when left in charge. I’m assuming he’d cook something savoury first, but who knows. At least ricotta has calcium I guess. Anyhow, I remembered this when I began making mince pies today. My daughter reminded me she hates the ‘pippy bits’, by which she means the mincemeat. So I thought I’d experiment by using this Nutella and ricotta mixture in little open tartlets. When baked, the chocolate is light and fluffy with a gently crackled top. These slightly alternative mince pies went down a treat. With everyone. Hope you like them too.
Preparation time : 30 minutes (if making your own pastry)
Cooking time : 15 minutes
Makes 12 tartlets
For the pastry :
(You can of course use shop bought shortcrust pastry, but if you want to make your own, this recipe was dead easy and made delicious pastry )
110g cold butter diced
125g plain flour
50g golden caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinammon
pinch of orange zest
1/4 of a beaten egg (optional)
For the filling
1 250g tub ricotta cheese
2 dessert spoons of Nutella
1. Preheat oven to 200C (180C fan assisted) and grease a 12 hole baking tin. Drain the ricotta in a sieve to get rid of the liquid. Then put in a mixing bowl with the Nutella and fold together well. Set aside. Lick spoon.
2. If you’re making the pastry yourself, first rub together butter and flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then add sugar, cinnamon and orange zest. Mix well before squeezing the mixture into a ball and kneading it briefly. Break off small balls of the dough, a bit bigger than a walnut in size, and push into each hole in the tin, pressing the dough up the sides so it’s evenly spread. For the rustic look ask a small person to help. If you find the dough too crumbly or you want to be able to roll it out and use cutters, add 1/4 of a beaten egg to the dough.
3. Next gently prick the bottom (ouch!) of each pastry case with a fork and blind bake for 2 minutes. Remove tray from oven and spoon a couple of generous teaspoons of the Nutella and ricotta mix into each case. You’ll have a little left over. Keep it for an easy children’s pudding with sliced banana. Or eat it yourself whilst the tartlets are cooking.
4. Put baking tray back in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until pastry is golden. Remove and wait 5-10 minutes until removing tartlets or they’ll collapse on you. Serve warm or cold. For grown ups I can highly recommend eating with a dollop of brandy-laced mascarpone or cream.