Among the dishes linked to the strong tradition with a predominantly family character, handed down over the centuries orally, the ricotta and sour cherry tart is a great classic of Roman Jewish cuisine.
It seems that the origins of this cake date back to the 18th century when some papal edicts forbade Jews to trade dairy products. So, to evade the controls of the papal guards, some bakers thought of hiding the ricotta between two layers of shortcrust pastry, confusing it with sour cherries to make it less visible.
In Rome, in Portico d'Ottavia, in the ancient Jewish Ghetto, the tasty tart is prepared in one of the historical bakery, the recipe of which is still secret and handed down from generation to generation.
This delicious cake looks like a shortcrust pastry, covered with sour cherry jam on which rests another layer of ricotta cream flavoured with sambuca, all covered with a second shortcrust pastry.
Here is our recipe to prepare it at home:
To make the pastry base:
- 400 g of 00 flour
- 200 g of sugar
- 200 g of butter at room temperature
- 4 egg yolks
- Lemon peel
To make the filling:
- 400 g of sheep ricotta
- 120 g of sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of sambuca
- 1 jar of sour cherry jam (or cherries if you can't find the sour cherry jam), 350 gr. about
First of all, it is necessary to prepare the shortcrust pastry. Create a mound with flour and sugar, then cut the butter into small pieces and put it in the centre.
Add the yolks over the butter and knead all the ingredients as quickly as possible until they form a smooth ball. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using it.
When the pastry is cold, grease and flour a 24 cm pan. At this point mash the dough on the bottom and keep aside enough to make the decorative strips to be placed on the surface of the tart. Spread a layer of jam on the raw pastry.
In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta with the sugar, egg and liqueur, then pour everything into the pan. Decorate the cake with the shortcrust pastry strips as for a tart and bake at 180 ° until golden brown, for about an hour; considering that the cooking time also depends on the width of the mould and the thickness of the pastry and cream, check at 45 minutes and then let the cake cook again if it is not well cooked.
Cool the cake and keep it in the refrigerator until ready to serve it.
Photo credits: Forno Boccione - Gambero Rosso Official Website