Perfection takes time– My Kitchen Stories working with Fiji Water
It looks completely delicious doesn’t it? This really is a perfect flaky pastry and ricotta slice.
Well it actually is as good as it looks. Each time I’ve made it has been better than the first. It’s a two-part recipe that takes a little bit of time. I can’t always make things that are quick , sometimes things need to take a little time because …good things do take time just like the old saying goes!.
I’ve been making baked ricotta for a long while and it’s always such a crowd pleaser. I decided it would be so much better if I sandwiched it in flakey, rough puff pastry, kind of like a savoury vanilla slice. Turns out it is good. It keeps very well too. Bake both parts and assemble when you need it or construct it and wrap and leave overnight. Flaky pastry takes a little time but I really think it’s something that should be in every bodies kitchen repertoire. It’s just so good . It can be frozen to use on pies when the weather turns ugly, the layered rich crunch just CAN NOT be replicated with frozen sheets. No need to get all worried about eating it either because I am not suggesting you eat it everyday. I am just suggesting you should know how to make it..stat!…
When I was in Fiji this year, I was surprised at the untouched beauty. Although I know that Fiji is pretty much Australia’s local holiday island I hadn’t really imagined how beautiful it was. There are remote untouched mountains and people still living a life with nature. Everyone is friendly and you find yourself waving and saying Bulla ( the local greeting morning, noon and night) to everyone you meet. Time seems to stand still, it doesn’t matter, it takes a lot of minutes to make a lot of smiles to fill it. Fiji time is legendary.
The heat is also legendary and I may not have survived the heat had I not had access to unlimited supplies of water. I wouldn’t dream of drinking water from the tap when I travel and I didn’t in Fiji either. I discovered that I really liked Fiji water, not the Fiji water from the tap but the real remote mountain water that is bottled in Fiji. Rain water trickles down through the layers of volcanic rock in the mountains that dominate the landscape . It is almost exclusively available all over Fiji and although I had seen it before I didn’t realize it is a real mineral water that actually takes hundreds of years to make. It’s bottled straight from the source bringing with it the minerals and electrolytes that make it so refreshing. Fijians are justifiably proud of this smooth tasting naturally made water that has probably been filtering in this land of smiles since the beginning of time.
I know it sounds just a little bit corny but I think my Perfect Flaky Pastry and Ricotta Tart and the Fiji water are a the best match because Perfction Takes Time.
- 250gm / 8oz flour
- 250gm/ 8 oz of chilled unsalted butter cut into cubes
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 100ml /3.38oz ( more or less) cold water
- 400 gm (14 oz) very fresh ricotta
- 1 egg
- 50gm/ 1.76oz finely grated parmesan
- 25gm / .88 oz grated gruyere or cheddar
- ¼ cup soft herbs chopped ( parsley, chives, dill, chervil etc)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- ½-1 punnet roast cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup olives
- parsley leaves
- Put the flour and salt into a food processor and whizz then add the chilled butter. Pulse till the butter and flour are just starting combine but there are still lumps of butter. Some of the lumps will be quite big and the others small.
- Pour onto a bench and make a well in the middle. Add about ½ of the water and working quickly start to push the flour and butter together. If the mixture looks like it will be too dry and crumbly add just a bit more liquid. Too much liquid will make a sticky tough dough. LESS is better.
- Push the pastry together in a rectangular shape (for later easy rolling) and wrap in plastic and freeze for 15-20 minutes.
- You will need to roll and fold the pastry three full times. Therefore follow this next step three times.
- Lightly flour the bench and start to roll out the rectangular piece of pastry away from you. Always roll in the same direction. It will be hard to roll at first and you only need to roll out a rectangle that is big enough to fold in three. Press any bits that snap or break back. Once it is a rectangle fold the pastry over itself three times. Start at the end (shortest side) and fold up to ⅓ and then over itself again. Re-freeze and begin again always rolling out in the same direction and folding three times. The pastry will get smoother and easier to roll each time. Chill
- Once the third roll is completed it is ready to use. It can be kept for 2-3 days or frozen
- Roll out the pastry and cut two circles by sprinkling a little flour on the bench and starting to roll. Try not to stretch the pastry. Roll it . It's best to not roll too thinly it needs to be at least 1mm (1/3 in) thick. The first will be easy to cut as you will have plenty of pastry. Make sure that you cut as close to the edge of the pastry as you can to cut out your circle. Use a paring knife and the cake tin as a guide. The second you will need to fold the pastry over itself so the layers stay intact. Never roll into a ball. Sprinkle the bench again and roll out the pastry, making sure that it is rolled not stretched.
- Now you have two circles the same size. Put onto a flat plate or cake base and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Bake each circle separately. Line a baking sheet with paper then the circle of pastry and then another piece of baking paper. Place the other tray over the top. This weighs down the pastry making a crunchy fully cooked disk. It will be flaky and easy to cut when you have finished your "slice".
- Bake for 20-30 minutes each over is different. My oven is very cool, but I still always check the circle after the first 20 minutes. It should be a golden colour. Do not take it out of the oven before it is this colour. When ready put onto a cake cooler to cool down. Repeat this step.
- The discs can be made ahead. Once cool put them in a airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Put the ricotta into a bowl with the chopped herbs, cheeses, olive oil, salt and pepper and egg. The mixture will not be very loose. Spread into the springform tin and push down with the back of a spoon. .
- Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes. The ricotta does not need to brown or colour at all, it just needs to get hot enough to set the eggs. Push in the centre with your fingers at 20 minutes and if it feels quite hot and relatively firm to touch, then take it out. Let it sit till just warm.
- Run a knife around the inside of the cake tin in case the ricotta is stuck to the tin, then loosen the side and remove.
- Put the disc of cooked flaky pastry onto the bench and trim around the edge using the cake tin as a guide. Put one of those trimmed discs on top of the ricotta and flip over inverting the ricotta on to the top of the pastry. Now you have a disc of flaky pastry under your ricotta. Put the other disc on top.
- Serve with roasted tomatoes tossed in olive oil and balsamic, olives and picked parsley leaves