I woke up this morning to the sound of birdsong in the air. As I craned my neck to watch and listen to our neighbourhood cardinals calling out from their usual perch, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Maybe, just maybe, this long winter is finally drawing towards its conclusion. I knew I had to celebrate with a spring-like dessert; to me, nothing says spring like maple syrup! The ricotta layer gives the tarts a bit of a cheesecake taste – and who doesn’t love cheesecake? This is a great dessert to make with kids as it is quick to prepare and yields a very professional looking product they'll be proud to help serve and eat.
One of the things I love best, other than the fabulous taste and pretty appearance of these tarts, is the fact that they can be ready in just 20 minutes thanks to premade tart shells, readily available in the freezer section of most grocery stores. To make them extra-special, don’t forget the recommended drizzle of flavoured balsamic. The tarts can be made a few hours ahead of serving, but they are best eaten on the day they are prepared.
Preheat oven to 375F.
In a small bowl, combine ricotta and maple syrup. Set aside.
Place tart shells on a baking tray.
Put about 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the ricotta mixture in each tart shell.
Top with berries in a single layer.
Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, until pastry is golden brown and ricotta is nicely puffed. Berries should be just beginning to release their juices.
Place tarts on a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.
Just before serving, pour a small drizzle of flavoured Balsamic on top of each tart and sprinkle with lemon zest.
Makes 12 tarts.
NOTE: If you let the tarts cool thoroughly, you can gently remove the foil pans before drizzling with the Balsamic, for a prettier presentation.