Lisa MushawA new generation doyenne on the rise who is staking her claim in the lofty arenas of international travel, tourism and the culinary arts, Lisa Mushaw is making transatlantic waves with TREASURES OF TUSCANY – AN EPICUREAN VOYAGE. TREASURES launched in November 2002 as a one-week vacation abroad with a twist – a cooking program where participants are given extensive exposure to Italian cuisine while discovering the physical beauty and traditions that are uniquely Tuscan. The idea was to offer “foodies” an opportunity to share and celebrate the cultural, personal and convivial rites that are the Tuscan Table, while basking in the charm of one of the world’s most exquisite and historic treasures. Lisa is a “natural taster” who cut her culinary teeth in the kitchen of relatives who excelled in the preparation of Creole cuisine. As a child, long before she knew the difference between battuto and affogato, she demonstrated a natural talent for discerning which ingredients were missing or used in excess in recipes. Her culinary gifts are no accident as her family roots include small business owners who made their living as caterers in New Orleans. A fervent student of food and wine, Lisa’s most recent accomplishment was completing a three year sommelier program. TREASURES OF TUSCANY – AN EPICUREAN VOYAGE is ideal for those with a passion for continental adventure who want to escape the drama of daily life and be transformed by a week in Florence – the center of the Renaissance, the Etruscan city of San Gimingnano or the medieval town of Lucca, creating memories that will last for years on end. Those who bask in attention to detail, pampering and personal service will want to join Lisa for the this extraordinary excursion to Toscana, the Italian province rich in beauty and character and the birthplace of much great Italian art, cuisine, and history.
Hi, I am Lisa Mushaw, Culinary and Lifestyle Specialist and Gourmet. I own Treasure to Tuscany an Epicurean Voyage. Treasure to Tuscany is a creative vacation with a cooking program. We offer culinary and wine tours throughout the region of Tuscany. Today, I am going to share with you how to prepare Torta di Ricotta, which is Ricotta Tart.
The ingredients that you will need for the ricotta tart are as follows:Youll need the Zest of one orange, two eggs, vanilla, raisins, baking soda, butter, flour and sugar. So, the first thing that were going to do is prepare the dough. The pastry dough in Italy is typically a little bit more sweet than the pastry dough that we have here in the States. It is called Frola pastry. What we are going to do is take one-and-a-half cups of flour and put it in our bowl. After we do that, were going to make a well with out fingers in the center of the bowl, like so. Once we have created our well in the center of the bowl, we want to go ahead and add the rest of our ingredients. The order does not matter, so I am going to take two thirds cup of sugar, pouring it in the center of the well and then I am going to go ahead and take two eggs, putting them in the center of the well also, followed by 6 tablespoons of melted butter. You can melt the butter even in the microwave or in the skillet, but certainly making sure that you do not burn the butter. You then want to go ahead and use a tablespoon of vanilla. Now, I love vanilla, so I always use about a half teaspoon more than it is ever called in a recipe, just because I like that taste. So, Ive got one tablespoon and then Im going to use a little bit more just for the flavor of it and then we are going to go ahead and add two teaspoons of baking soda. Also, as I had said earlier Frola dough is a little bit sweeter than pastry dough or pie dough batter that we use here in America, so the consistency of it is going to be a bit more sticky, almost like that of a sugar cookie. Lastly, Im just going to move the bowl out of the way. The next thing well do is add the Zest of an orange. Now, one of the things I will say about this recipe is, all over Italy people use different ingredients to change the flavor to somewhat. You certainly can use the Zest of a lemon, but I really like oranges and I think it changes it just a little bit and it compliments the sugary taste of the dough.
So, since we are going to use an orange, again its a bit bigger than a lemon, instead of grating the whole orange to get the Zest, well just grate half of the orange to get the Zest of the orange peel. You just simply using a grater, going to grate some of the orange to put into the pie crust. This is one of those r recipes that is very economical and very easy to make.
Now, I will say this for those of you who like to do shortcut. If you know people who are coming over to your house, know something about Italian food, you cannot cheat on the crust. Youre not going to be able to go ahead and buy a readymade crust from the supermarket, for the simple reason that the crust is so much sweeter than a readymade pie crust that we are familiar with. However, if you decide that you want to go ahead and do that anyway, the filling which well get to later is very easy to assemble. Alright, so now we have all the ingredients in the well of the pie, Im simply just going to stir, starting in the middle of the well and as I am stirring the ingredients are starting to pull in together and the flour is starting to come in from the side. I use a fork and some people like to stir it and then knead it, but again its so sticky that you end up with more ingredients stuck to your fingers than in the bowl. So I kind of think, I have a little more control of it this way.
I am going to tilt it so you can see how the consistency of it is becoming, but its coming together quite nicely. This dough is not difficult to make, which is also a good thing. It has a nice taste, I have to say that a ricotta tart one of the nice things about this recipe, not only that its an easy thing to make and again they make it all over Italy, like I said with different ingredients. Like instead of maybe raisins and pine nuts they might use chocolate chips or something, but the wonderful thing is, its such a light delicate taste, so if you did serve a big meal, this is something that would be just sweet enough to end the meal but not overpower a dish that you had and its not going to be too heavy and lay on your stomach.
Alright, so I want to show you I am just going to stick it up like this, so you can see how runny and sticky this dough is. So, like I said, I would stick to using a fork or spoon or something and now we are going to go ahead and get some ceram wrap and put it in a Saran wrap and let it chill for an hour.