Pear & ricotta tart

Pear & ricotta tart

Torta di ricotta & pere

The Amalfi Coast
(makes one 20 cm round cake)
Helen Cathcart

Crumbly white ricotta is sandwiched between layers of soft, sweet pears and a dark hazelnut sponge. It is perfectly balanced in flavours and textures – hence its success. This dessert was made famous by Sal De Riso, the fantastic patisserie in Minori. In their version the pears are cooked in rum.

For the sponge


Quantity Ingredient
100g hazelnuts
50g ‘00’ or plain flour
100g caster sugar
75g unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, plus extra for greasing
4 egg whites
icing sugar, for dusting

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
2-3 pears, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
75ml water
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways in two
or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g golden caster sugar
250g ricotta, drained
100g double cream


  1. Grease two 20 cm round tins with butter and line the bottoms with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Scatter the hazelnuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool but leave the oven on.
  2. Use a food processor to blitz the nuts to a sandy consistency. Add the flour, sugar and butter to the food processor and whizz again to blend. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites to so. peaks and then fold them into the nut mixture. Pour into the prepared tins and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto wire racks. Peel off the circles of baking parchment.
  3. To make the filling, cook the pears in the water, together with the vanilla and 75 g of the sugar in a saucepan until soft, for 15–20 minutes (depending on the ripeness of the pears). This is best done with a circle of baking parchment pressed down on the pears to trap in the steam. When the pears are done, strain them through a sieve resting over a bowl to collect the juices and set aside.
  4. Whisk together the remaining sugar, ricotta and cream in a bowl until smooth and thick. When the pears are cool stir them into the cream. Place one hazelnut sponge on a board and spoon the filling over. Lay the other sponge on top and push down so that the filling oozes out a little. Smooth the sides with the back of a spoon. Sift the icing sugar over the top and transfer to a serving dish or cake stand. Serve in slices with the syrup from the pears.

A note on oven temperatures:

  • It has been assumed throughout that a fan-forced oven is being used. Please adjust your temperatures to 20°C higher if you are using a conventional oven.
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