California has spoiled me forever.
I know I seem every bit the native Californian (at least that’s what I like to tell myself) but I was actually raised in Washington State. And no, it didn’t rain all the time. It may come as a shock to many of you…but there is actually an entire Eastern side of the state that doesn’t perpetually reside beneath constant cloud cover. Eastern Washington is, in fact, categorized as an arid desert. My hometown of Wenatchee had four very distinct seasons featuring freezing white winters, blindingly hot summers, and very little rainfall.
Growing up in Wenatchee brought me to the conclusion that I don’t like weather.
The lack of seasons was a very important factor in my decision to move to Southern California when I graduated high school. Maybe it’s because I hate change of any kind, but I like my temperatures to remain relatively constant throughout the year.
Hence, California has spoiled me. I was completely useless during this year’s heat wave.
Despite my hometown reaching well above 100 degrees every summer, I now begin complaining of excessive heat once temperatures reaches the mid 80’s. I recently spent an entire Saturday afternoon fanning myself on my couch (in my air-conditioned living room) watching Harry Potter and The Help and refusing to leave the house.
My husband and I even escaped to the mountains for a weekend of camping. Although the afternoons were still pretty warm for my taste, the evenings and mornings were blissfully cool. It was super relaxing, lounging by the fire crocheting granny squares for an afghan I’ve been working on. Because everyone crochets when they camp…right?
But back in civilization, the drastic increases in temperature (and in California I admittedly use the term “drastic increases” loosely) completely saps any desire to bake my usual dessert of choice…cupcakes.
Summer is the time for light and fluffy mousse tarts.
Despite searching, I was unable to find the perfect summer tart recipe. So, I had to get a little creative.
I’m of the opinion the lemons and raspberries should always be baked into tarts together. I’m also a great lover of lemons and blueberries, especially when in muffin form.
This recipe is slightly more complicated than your average tart. It is done in three stages and will take most of the day from start to finish. But don’t run away yet!
It can certainly be made the day before you plan to serve it (this is what I did). Most of the time needed for this recipe is allowing each layer to cool before the next one is added and then allowing the mousse to set completely, so it’s not a significant amount of “hands on” time. And trust me, the end result is well worth it!
Lemon Ricotta Tart with Raspberry Mousse
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp water
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Liberally butter a tart or quiche dish and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Add butter pieces and cut into flour mixture until fine crumbs form. Add yolk, vanilla and water and mix completely until dough forms a ball. Press dough into buttered pan (using flour if dough is sticky). Chill shell for 40 minutes.
- Prick the tart shell with a fork and bake for 20 minutes. Let shell cool completely.
Lemon Ricotta Filling
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 ¼ cup part skim ricotta cheese
- 3 egg whites
- Lemon zest from one lemon, finely grated
- Lemon juice from one lemon
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine cream cheese, ricotta, and sugar in a large bowl and cream together. Add egg whites, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix at medium speed until combined.
- Pour into cooled tart crust and bake for 20 minutes
- 1 ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 ¼ tsp powdered gelatin
- 1 cup fresh raspberries (plus extra for garnish)
- ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- Place lemon juice in a small bowl and sprinkle with gelatin. Let sit until gelatin softens, about 3 minutes.
- In a blender, puree raspberries until smooth. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a measuring cup (you should have ½ cup of puree, if not puree additional raspberries as needed). Discard solids.
- In a small saucepan, combine raspberry puree and ¼ cup sugar over medium heat. Cook until bubbles form at edge. Add gelatin mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until gelatin dissolves, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool to room temperature, 20 minutes.
- In a large bowl, beat heavy cream and 1 tbsp sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until firm peaks form. Gently fold in cooled raspberry puree until combined.
- Pour over cooled tart and smooth top with a spatula. Arrange raspberries on top of desired. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours or overnight.