Ricotta Berry Tart with Chocolate Crust

baking dessert seasonal eating Sep 09, 2022

Fresh Berry Tart

Ricotta Berry Tart with Chocolate Crust  - Makes a 9-inch tart - 6 to 8 servings

The directions are long and detailed so that the tart turns out perfectly, but it’s actually a very simple tart to make, so don’t pass it up!

Dessert is like jewelry that accents an outfit. It should be beautiful, whether refined or rustic and taste delicious. Using the best quality products you can afford adds to the complexity of flavors. 

This tart is all about the creamy filling. Using the best quality ricotta you can find will make all the difference with the end result. You want to find ricotta without added gums and preservatives, which will change the flavor and texture of the filling. Natural ricotta is made with just whole milk, vinegar, and salt. I like Calabrocheese.com, which can be found in the Bay Area at Whole Foods, Lunardi's, and other stores.

You can leave out the Nutella and grated chocolate for the filling and simply substitute zested lemon or orange zest to taste. 

I like a mixture of berries for the fruit, but you could also do one type of berry or just cherries which would also be stunning and delicious. I love the cherries with the stem on. Yes, it’s a bit messy to eat, which means you have to slow down and enjoy the tart. There’s nothing bad about that!

It would also be beautiful with sliced peaches, plums, or nectarines. In this case, I may or may not leave out the Nutella and grated chocolate and substitute almond extract for the vanilla. You could also use orange marmalade, peach, or apricot jam for the glaze and sprinkle with toasted slivered almonds.

  • Note: The Nutella acts a barrier to the wet ricotta. If you choose to leave out the Nutella, serve within two or three hours as the ricotta may make the crust a bit soft. On the other hand, it will still be delicious!

Special Equipment:

  • A 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom

  • A small pastry brush for brushing glaze over the berries

  • Pie weights or dry beans, peas, or rice for baking the crust. After baking, I cool the beans or rice and store them in a glass jar marked “pie weights” for future use.


  • Before starting, gently rinse the fruit in water and drain and dry on paper towel while making the tart crust and filling. The fruit must be dry before glazing.

  • The tast dough must have at least 30 minutes to rest in the fridge.


Chocolate Cocoa Nib Pie Crust:

This recipe is enough for a 9-inch pie or a 9 or 10-inch tart with leftovers for decorations; see below. Substitute this recipe for regular pie dough for any pie that would go well with chocolate.

1 ½ cup (188 grams) All Purpose flour (I like King Arthur)

3  Tbls sugar

3 Tbls unsweetened cocoa powder, dark preferred

¼ tsp salt

2 Tbls cocoa nibs, crushed with a rolling pin or mallet into fine pieces

½ cup (1 stick, 4 oz) cold unsalted butter cut into cubes

¼ cup plus 1 or 2 Tbls cold water minus 1 tsp.

1 tsp Vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

Wax or parchment paper


You’ll need about three small berry baskets of berries, such as raspberries, golden raspberries, blue and blackberries, cherries with the stem on, etc. Pick the best of the berries and reserve the rest for another use. Lightly rinse the fruit in water and drain and dry on paper towel while making the tart crust and filling.

3 Tbls orange or lemon marmalade, apricot jam, or a red jam or jelly if using all red fruits.

Ricotta Filling: 

1 ½ cups whole milk ricotta made with only milk, salt, and vinegar

2 to 3 Tbls sugar or to taste - 2 Tbls is enough if using Nutella

1 tsp vanilla

2 to 3 oz. grated dark, semisweet chocolate

⅓ cup room temperature Nutella


Shaping a Tart Shell:

  1. When you're "ready to roll," remove the dough from the fridge. If the dough has been refrigerated longer than 30 minutes, let it rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling to allow the butter to soften up just a bit.

  2. Dust your rolling surface lightly with flour or place your disc between two sheets of parchment paper. 

  3. Roll in one direction turning the dough clockwise with each roll. In other words, don't roll back and forth. This will activate the gluten and create a tough dough that shrinks in the oven.

  4. Roll the dough out to about 2-inches wider than the tart pan.

  5. Gently roll the dough onto the rolling pin and unroll over your tart pan or pie plate. 

  6. Help the dough settle into the pan by nudging it into the bottom and sides of the pan. 

  7. Using the rolling pin, roll across the tart tin, cutting the extra dough.

  8. Use your fingers to ensure the dough is pushed against the sides and rises above the tin just a bit. Prick the bottom with a fork and then chill for 20-30 minutes.

  9. Use the leftover crust to cut leaves with a small sharp knive. Lightly score the leaves with the tip of a knife to create “veins.” Place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

To bake a Blind Crust:

  1. Set the oven to 375˚F

  2. Crumple a sheet of parchment paper or foil and line the chilled dough. Fill the parchment-lined pan with pie weights or dry beans, peas, or rice spreading the beans to the edges and up the sides of the dough about ¾ of the way up the crust. Bake for 15 minutes. 

  3. Remove the tart shell from the oven and gently lift the paper with beans out of the crust, setting the rice aside to cool. 

  4. Poke the dough several times with a fork and return to the oven to complete baking, about 8 to 10 minutes or until firm. Add the leaves at this time and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. 

  5. Cool the tart shell in the pan completely before filling.

Pie Dough Notes & Tips:

  • Water + flour + rolling to much = gluten. Mix, knead, and roll as little as possible.

  • Always use unsalted butter!!!

  • Low-protein flour such as cake or pastry flour helps to cut the gluten. Use 1/2 cup pastry flour with 1 cup all purpose flour.

  • If you are doubling the recipe for a double-crust pie, create two discs.

Ricotta Filling 

  1. Whisk the ricotta, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.

  2. Stir in the grated chocolate if using.

Putting the tart together:

  1. Allow the tart shell to cool completely.

  2. Spread the Nutella evenly across the bottom of the tart shell. Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes or until Nutella is firm.

  3. Spread the ricotta filling gently over the Nutella.

  4. Place the fruit in any pattern you choose, pressing gently onto the ricotta. Try and place the fruit so that no holes are exposing the ricotta.

  5. Gently warm the jam with 1 tsp water until it is melted.

  6. Brush the fruit with the jam glaze.

  7. Refrigerate the tart until the filling and glaze are set. You can also leave the tart refrigerated for 1 to 4 hours.

  8. Gently remove the tart ring and slide the tart onto a platter and off the base of the tart pan.

  9. Keep refrigerated until serving.

The tart made with nectarines & plums. I leave out the Nutella and add 1/2 tsp. almond extract to the filling

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