Smoked Ricotta Caramelized Garlic Tart

After spending a night testing food concepts for a collaborative project a friend gave me two boxes of puff pastry, leftover from an abandoned experiment in sausage pies. There was one recipe I had in mind in particular to use the puff pastry for; Yotam Ottolenghi’s caramelized garlic tart. It’s sort of a savory cheesecake studded with whole cloves of garlic. The basic recipe I used is slightly different from the one I linked to, but I don’t remember where I found the version I used. I made a few changes to it, myself, because I had different cheeses on hand; smoked ricotta and mascarpone instead of goat cheese. I added nutmeg because I felt it would go well with these cheeses.

The first step is to preheat the oven to 350°F and line a greased pan with puff pastry. I rolled the pastry out a bit to get it to the dimensions of the pan. Then line the inside of the pan with parchment paper and fill it with beans or pie weights. I used some old split peas, which is kind of a pain to use because so many little bean pieces can get stuck to the crust when you try to remove them. The pastry has to be refrigerated for 20 minutes, then baked for 20 minutes with the beans, then baked another 5-10 minutes with the beans and paper removed. After the crust was done I set it aside and lowered the temperature of the oven to 325°F.

While waiting for the crust, I boiled 3 heads worth of garlic for 3 minutes to blanch it then removed the skins and fried the garlic* in a tablespoon of olive oil for 2-3 minutes on high heat, then mixed in 1 cup of water and 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.* After letting this boil for ten minutes I added 2 tsp of chopped fresh rosemary,* about 1 tsp of freshly ground nutmeg,* a pinch of salt, and 3/4 tablespoon demerara sugar, and continued to boil until the syrup thickened, about 10 minutes.

In another bowl, I whisked together two eggs, salt and pepper, half a cup of heavy cream and half a cup of mascarpone.

Then I layered chunks of about 6 oz of smoked ricotta, 4 oz of mascarpone and the garlic cloves in the crust, poured the egg mixture over it, sprinkled a little more nutmeg on top, and baked it for about 40 minutes.

The tart, once cooled, will shrink back down in the pan a bit.

*store-bought items

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