madonna del piatto

Italian family cooking

chocolate and ricotta crostata with homemade candied orange

27 Comments

Umbria meets Sicily: a pastry tart with chocolate, orange and ricotta

CROSTATA AL CIOCCOLATO.  I can proudly say that this is a family recipe. My family is half Umbrian, half Sicilian. Both regions have great food but when it comes to sweets there is no contest.  Sicilians are blessed by the best sweets ever  invented, cassata, cannoli, panzerotti, martorana, granita, pignolata….oh my.

Enter any humble bakery in Sicily and you will feel like in sugar heaven.   Sicilians  rarely make sweets at home because they can buy the best stuff in the world. And by the way, most of their sweets take days to make, so why bother.

We Umbrian peasants really can’t compete but we have one good thing, our crostata. We like it so much we eat it all the time. In addition it’s really easy and quick to make.

I don’t know who had this brilliant idea, but sometime when I was a kid, one of my Sicilian aunties living in Umbria came up with the idea of using the cannoli filling for a crostata. It was an instant success and adopted for all picnics and garden parties. Home-style fusion food, I just love it.

Recipe

  • 1 recipe crostata dough
  • 250 gr / 8 ounces ricotta
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 100 gr. / 2 and 1/2  ounces 70% dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon minced candied orange or citron peel
  • orange blossom water (optional)

Chop chocolate in small cubes and stir into the ricotta, add all other ingredients  and if desired 1/4 teaspoon of orange blossom water. Make sure to use good quality, flavorful candied peel which will contribute a characteristic citrus taste to the mixture. In the winter I make candied orange peel, it’s fantastic.

Prepare the tart as explained in the main crostata recipe using the ricotta filling instead of jam. Bake the crostata at 180° C/ 350° F for  45 minutes, or until the lattice is golden. Cool the crostata in the pan on a rack and serve.

Because of the soft cheese filling, you need to make this tart the same day you serve it otherwise the crust will soften.

Serves 8

Author: madonnadelpiatto

Former scientist, I now run B&B and cooking school Alla Madonna del Piatto in Assisi, Umbria, central Italy, together with my husband Ruurd, daughter Tea and truffle dog Google. We love good food and wine, travel, beautiful handicrafts like textiles and pottery. We feel fortunate to be able to share our magical mountain with many friends from all over the world.

27 thoughts on “chocolate and ricotta crostata with homemade candied orange

  1. Ciao Letizia! I love your writing style. You have a way with words and your sense of humor shines through. Brava! Complimenti! Scrivi davvero un bel po’ di inglese! A proposito che cosa e’ l’acqua della fioritura di arancia? E’ qualcosa che si compra o qualcosa che si fa a casa? Sembra una ricetta veramente interessante e “creativa” …perfetto per me!

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  2. yum. this really appeals to me — just perfect, letizia.

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  3. Ciao ladies!
    Melissa grazie per i complimenti, il mio inglese è tutto inventato, imparo dalle mie amiche che scrivono bene come Diana!
    L’acqua di fiori di arancia è un essenza che si trova in Italia in tutti i supermercati. Ha un profumo floreale delicato, non piace a tutti ma è molto usato nella cucina meridionale

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  4. OMG. this sounds incredible. i will DEFINITELY be making it! thank you!

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  5. I am going to have to try this. My family is from Florence and Lucca but I have to admit the Sicilians rule the dessert roost!

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  6. Thanks Kathy, Let me know how it works out!

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  7. I have an aunt that use to make this tart and its a favorite cant wait to try this!~

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  8. Hi Claudia, may be my auntie got the recipe from your auntie!

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  9. Wow, this looks so good, Letizia. There goes the diet — again!

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  10. Not sure but glad you posted since I didnt have a clue how to make it thanks so much~!

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  11. Claudia I’d love to know if your aunt made the tart exactly like this one. Sicilians don’t make crostata. The nearest Southern speciality is the pastiera Napoletana which is filled with cooked wheat not with ricotta.

    Sandra, you must be like me, my diet always starts next Monday :))))

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  12. After today I can definitively say that it’s the best crostata I’ve ever had! Gorgeous light crumbly pastry and a delicate, delicious filling – wish I hadn’t been so full from 2 helpings of the yummy pasta dish – I wanted another piece!!
    Thanks so much Letizia for a lovely lovely afternoon! ;-)

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  13. This looks wonderful. I love anything with chocolate and orange. Can’t wait to try it!

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  14. wow this looks incredible – could it be made with nutella?? Can’t wait to try it-i made a chocolate orange cheesecake last week-quite yummy!!

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    • Hi Linda, thanks for visiting!
      This recipe is good with chocolate chunks which give it an interesting texture, the filling is not completely creamy. If you want to make it with Nutella, then omit the orange zest and cinnamon, add 1-2 tablespoon strong espresso, the ricotta and voilà you have an easy chocolate tart!

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  15. Letizia, ho appena scoperto questo bellissimo blog… stavo cercando la ricetta del sartu’ di patate.
    Mi piace molto la vostra attivita’, le lezioni di cucina, le ricette! Provero’ la marmellata di limoni e la crostata di cioccolata.
    Io sono di Genova (di mamma molisana e papa’ piemontese) ma abito in California da molti anni-dove cucino e insegno cucina italiana. Anche io uso molto le erbe (nello stile ligure), i fiori e anche le foglie. Tanti auguri, vi visitero’ di nuovo presto,
    Nelly

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  16. Letizia,
    Hello. I am so happy to see such a fabulous blog of recipes from you. I will start with your family chocolate crostata..I will be back and I thank you so for sharing and for the B&B info. I read a little each night. My husband and I are both excited to meet new faces that come thru our door. Cheers, Kathleen

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  17. Pingback: candied orange peel | madonna del piatto

  18. Pingback: my articles elswhere: crostata the healthy way | madonna del piatto

  19. Pingback: top 10 posts from the bloggers in italy| 14-march-10 | italytutto - the blog about the blogs in Italy

  20. Oh Letizia! How you weave your magic spells! Kim has never thought that she could really be a cook, until she spent that beautiful day in your kitchen. Under your hand she is beginning to bloom in a way that I have not been able to coax out for the almost 30 years that we have shared. Her confidence is growing, and now that I am feeling a little better, and feeling like eating again, we will build on that which you have planted. This crostata was a perfect way to introduce her to deserts! Elegant enough for an evening with guests, or just as perfect with friends in the kitchen. Such a base for a million variations!! I cannot thank you enough for your tutelage. It was one of the highlights of our trip. Do you think that a US Marscapone cheese might make a suitable cheese for the crostata?? I am having no luck finding a really good creamy ricotta. I hope all is well, and I look forward to a long and mutually happy friendship! With our love. Kim and Jeff

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    • ah Jeff, this is such a wonderful comment, you have made my day! See why I change dmy life? it’s because of all the lovely people who come here at the top of our crazy mountain.

      As for the crostata, I am not sure it’s possible to cook mascarpone without it reverting to milk. How about sieving the ricotta to make it more creamy? It’s also possible to make it yourself quite easily apparently. You need to Google “making ricotta with lemon juice”. Real ricotta should be made with whey, but the lemon juice+ milk alternative seems to be a quick and easy substitute and definitely better than the inferior quality stuff available in some shops!

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      • Letizia, I do’t know why I have not thought of this. My mother makes anything that comes from milk. I will call her now and ask her if she woulod try it for me. I will let you know. Ciao, Jeff

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  21. yes, please Jeff, I’d love to know as I am asked often what to do when good ricotta is not available!

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