• Ricotta and lemon tart (China Squirrel)Source: China Squirrel

This is a delicious, inter-regional lemon tart recipe, using fresh ricotta cheese, typical of the south, and a little mascarpone, a cream cheese of the north. Try to get sheep’s milk ricotta if you can as it is much tastier.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (102 votes)


For the pastry

  • 400 g packet ready-made puff pastry 
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 1 lemon, rind finely grated 

For the filling

  • 300 g ricotta 
  • 200 g mascarpone 
  • 200 g candied peel (citron and orange preferably), roughly chopped 
  • 120 g caster sugar 
  • 6 eggs, separated

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cooling time 2 hours

Use a deep 25cm loose-based tart tin.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface until it is 2–3 mm thick. Lay over a 25 cm loose-based tart pan, and gently push the pastry into the base and up and over the sides. There will quite a bit of overhang. Cover with a damp cloth while you make the filling.

In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, mascarpone and candied peel with 100 g of the sugar and 5 of the egg yolks.

Put all 6 eggwhites in another large, clean bowl and whisk until fluffy. Add the remaining sugar and continue whisking until stiff.

Using a large metal spoon, fold the whites through the ricotta mixture, then pour into the pastry-lined tart pan.

Fold in the overhanging pastry and brush with the reserved beaten egg yolk. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is risen and golden and the filling retains a slight wobble.

Leave to cool for 2 hours, then scatter with lemon rind. Serve either on its own or with roasted pears (see note).


• When we filmed the making of this tart, I served it with pears in red wine. To make them, tuck 8 pears into a suitably sized dish with high sides and bake in preheated 180°C oven for half an hour until the skins start to bubble. Pour over enough good red wine to cover, sprinkle with caster sugar and bake for another half an hour, by which time the wine will have reduced to a sweet syrup.


Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel