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Caramelized Tangerine and Ricotta Tart
Margo True, Sunset Magazine
Makes 1 rectangular (4½ x 14-inch) or round (9-inch) tart

This recipe is from Sunset's upcoming book, loosely titled The One-Block Feast, about how we've tried to cook entirely from our back yard here at the magazine. Milk was one of the "imports"--because we just had to have cheese! We developed this recipe using homemade ricotta, fromage blanc, creme fraiche and butter. As of March 2010, the recipe is still under development so send feedback to oneblockdiet.sunset.com.

If you make the rectangular tart, you’ll have enough pastry dough, filling, and topping left over for a 4- to 5-inch mini tart.

5 to 6              unpeeled firm tangerines, washed well and cut thinly crosswise
7 Tbsp.           honey
½ cup             fresh tangerine juice (3 to 4 tangerines)

1½ cups         whole-wheat pastry flour*, plus more for rolling
¼ tsp.            salt
8 Tbsp.           cold butter, cut into cubes
1 Tbsp.           honey

3/4 cup          fromage blanc (see recipe)
1 cup             cow’s milk ricotta (see recipe)
½ cup            crème fraîche
2 tbsp. each   honey and tangerine marmalade

1. Make topping:  Preheat oven to 275°. In an 8-in. by 8-in. glass baking dish, arrange half the tangerine slices in a more or less single layer and drizzle with 1 1/2 tbsp. honey. Top with remaining tangerine slices and drizzle with remaining honey. Pour tangerine juice over fruit (it should almost cover fruit), cover with foil, and simmer in oven until peels are very soft, 2 to 2 ½ hours.

2. Make crust:  Sift flour and salt into a medium bowl and, using pastry cutter, 2 knives, or your fingers, work butter into flour until it looks like shaggy fresh breadcrumbs. Drizzle honey over mixture and stir in with a fork. Stir in 2 to 3 tbsp. ice water (just enough so dough comes together when you press it with your fingers) and press dough together into a rough ball. Turn it out onto a work surface (it will mostly be crumbs) and press together into a rectangle or disk, depending on what shape of tart you’re making. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

3. Meanwhile, make filling: In a medium mixing bowl, beat ricotta, fromage blanc, crème fraiche, and honey until smooth, then beat in marmalade.

4. When tangerines have finished simmering in Step 1, remove from oven, drizzle with another 2 tbsp. honey, increase oven temperature to 350° and roast until just starting to brown, about 30 minutes more. Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining 2 tbsp. honey.

5. While tangerines are roasting, make and bake the crust: Let pastry warm up 10 minutes on a lightly floured work surface.  With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out thinly (1/8 in.) to the shape you want. Using a pastry scraper or a thin metal spatula, scoot dough off surface and gently ease into tart pan. Trim dough even with pan edge. 

6. Prick crust all over bottom with a fork.  Line with parchment, fill with pie weights or beans, and bake alongside tangerines until crust is golden, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove parchment and pie weights and continue baking until crust is deep golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool. 

7. Put filling in cooled crust to within 1/2 inch of top. Arrange warm or cooled tangerines over filling and drizzle with any accumulated juices. Chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

* Whole wheat pastry flour comes from soft, low-protein wheat. We grew soft white winter wheat at Sunset, but used up our supply rather quickly—and now turn to Sonora wheat flour, a variety that grows in the San Francisco Bay area. It’s typically finely milled with a protein content of about 12%. Each farm's flour is slightly different, and for this recipe we liked the very finely milled Sonora wheat flour from Full Belly Farm in Yolo County (530/796-2214; call for buying information) because it behaves like whole wheat flour.

Make ahead: The crust, filling, and topping can all be made a day ahead.

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