Celebrating Two Months on the Road!

Wow we have made it! 8 Weeks in and we are still talking to each other, still enjoying cooking, still enjoying eating, seeing new sites and most important of all the car is still driving!

img_6572Having visited many Italian fortified hill top towns with pretty castles’s we decided to actually go and stay in a castle! We are staying in the bell tower in Certaldo in Tuscany with a few day trips planned. To be honest, I am not sure how practical it is to stay in tower as there is obvious height restrictions – but I am sure the bumps on the head will be worth it or at least memorable.

First up is Florence. In a day?? What were we thinking, we decided within 1 hour of arriving in the city that we will have to extend our trip and come back, so I will come back to Florence in a later blog. Next up Siena, GO! You have not seen a cathedral till you see the Duomo in Siena. Yes the outside is impressive, but the inside is jaw droppingly beautiful. We were lucky enough to see the marbled floor which is only revealed two months of the year, oh how I wish we booked a guided tour as we were a bit lost in all it’s marvels.

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Siena

Certaldo is a foodie hot spot and we had lots of good food. Twice, we had excellent food at Ristorante L’Antica Fonte – this is where the Italians eat and it is good, I had spelt risotto with baby octopus which I could taste was slow cooked in a red wine concoctions – a dish which I will definitely try to replicate once we are back home. The local tuscan pici pasta is also a must and the sauce changes weekly. I had a memorable Ribollita at Ristorante A Casa Tua. This seasonal vegetable tuscan soup is a favourite at the Rivercafe in London and changes according to the seasons. It is at this restaurant where I got my inspiration from for my homemade pasta and broccoli pesto recipe (to follow once I get my blog up to date!).

Back to the celebration and hoorah an actual recipe on the blog again! Loved this – fresh, zingy and not too sweet – my kind of dessert. I am not sure how to explain the taste of a Bergamot, all I know is it does not taste like a orange, lemon, lime or a tangerine – helpful I know sorry. Earl Grey has bergamot in it thought and I would imagine it is the bergamot which makes it ‘perfumy’.

I used my trusted little 15cm tart ring for this recipe – I think the perfect size to enjoy by all in one go.

Bergamot and Ricotta Custard Tart with Citrus Mascarpone

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 190g plain flour
  • 90g softened butter (still cold)
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 50ml of cold water

Filling

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 200ml double cream
  • 100ml milk
  • 60g ricotta cheese
  • 60-100g of icing sugar
  • zest of 1 bergamot (or citrus fruit of choice)
  • 3/4 tablespoons of juice of the bergamot (or citrus of choice)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220c
  2. Mix the egg yolk and cold water.
  3. To make the pastry, sift the flour together with the salt and sugar in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until you have a breadcrumb texture. Add enough cold water and egg mixture to make the crumb mixture come together to form a firm dough as quickly and efficiently as possible (https://adreskitchen.com/2016/09/23/norwegian-quiche-with-fennel-salad/). Pastry should not be dry and crumbly if it is add more water/egg mixture a tablespoon at a time.
  4. Shape the pastry into a disc. Wrap and place in the fridge (the bottom is the coolest) for at least 20minutes.
  5. For the filling add all the ingredients together and mix with hand mixture till smooth.
  6. Taste for sweetness! There was a unanimous vote that my filling should be sweeter – so you be your own judge. Please take into account that the sweetness will mellow out a bit while in the oven.
  7. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface slightly larger than your pastry case. Roll onto rolling pin and gently lift and place pastry in case. With a piece of excess pastry, very gently press into the corners of the case ensuring the pastry meets the case at the bottom. Roll off the overhanging edges of the pastry and again neaten with excess pastry.
  8. Wrap the pastry (and excess pastry in case of cracks) and chill for at least 30min (the longer the better).
  9. Remove the pastry case from the fridge and line the base of the pastry with baking parchment and then fill it with baking beans taking care not to overload the pastry with beans! Place on a baking tray and bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for another five minutes to cook the base. You are looking for a very light colour almost sandy look and ‘feel’ with no grey patches.
  10. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3 and lower the oven shelf to one below middle (this is called lower 1/3 of the oven)
  11. Carefully pour the mixture into the quiche. I normally fill to 2/3 then place the quiche in the oven and then quickly fill in the last 1/3.
  12. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until set (see note)

Kitchen Notes
+ You are still looking for a ever so slight little wobble in the middle as this will set further once once quiche is removed.

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