Saturday, February 17, 2024

Pear, Prosciutto and Ricotta Tart

Flaky puff pastry, ricotta cheese, pears, prosciutto and pecans -- put them all together and you've got the recipe for one terrific tart. It's so delicious with the sweet/savory combo going on and easy to put together too. I served it recently to guests for the first time, as an appetizer before the main course, and we gobbled down the entire thing. You could also make it your lunch or dinner, served with a salad on the side.

Start with purchased puff pastry, spread onto some parchment paper, turn up the edges and prick the bottom. Then spread some ricotta cheese on top.
Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the ricotta.
Slice some pears, seasoning again with salt and pepper and a little olive oil, and sprinkle some fennel or anise seeds on the edges (don't skip this part). Bake.

When it comes out of the oven, top it with some sliced prosciutto and pecans that have been cooked in butter and honey. The final touch is the rosemary that has been crisped slightly in butter. Full recipe below.

It's pretty irresistible even without the prosciutto. If you want to serve it as a dessert, eliminate the prosciutto and add a couple of tablespoons of sugar to the ricotta cheese. 
Betcha' can't eat just one piece!

Check out Ciao Chow Linda on Instagram here to find out what’s cooking in my kitchen each day (and more).


  • 1 (14 oz) sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 8 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 large pear, thinly sliced
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp cream (or milk)
  • 1 tsp anise (or fennel) seeds
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto di parma
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Unfold the puff pastry into a rectangle. Spread the ricotta cheese evenly onto the dough, leaving a 1” border. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper.
  2. Arrange the sliced pears over the ricotta. Drizzle with olive oil and season again. Fold the edges of dough over the pears and pinch the corners together. Combine the egg yolk and cream in a small bowl. Brush this egg wash onto the border of dough. Sprinkle the anise seeds onto the border.
  3. Bake the tart for 30 minutes on the middle rack of the oven. Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the rosemary sprig. Drop the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the butter is lightly browned and the rosemary is crisp. Remove and reserve the rosemary. Turn off the heat and whisk in the honey.
  4. Remove the tart from the oven and drizzle 2 tablespoons of the honey mixture over top. Bake again for 10 minutes, or until golden and caramelized. Stir the pecans into the remaining honey mixture.
  5. Transfer the tart to a cutting board. Let cool for a minute or so. Top with the slices of prosciutto. Spoon the pecans over top and garnish with the fried rosemary leaves. Cut into pieces and serve immediately.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Chocolate Cream Pie

If chocolate is your love language, then no words are needed once you taste this divine dessert. Make this for your special someone for Valentine's Day -- or make it for yourself if there's no special someone in your life right now. The luscious chocolate filling, topped with heavenly whipped cream, is the perfect solution to the mid-winter doldrums. Oh heck, chocolate is the perfect solution to any problem any time of year.

If you don't want to make your own pie crust, just buy a frozen pre-made crust and you're halfway there. Homemade is always better but I occasionally rely on Trader Joe's pie crusts in a pinch and they're pretty darn good, even if it they are a bit fiddly and needing to be smushed together to form one cohesive piece. The pie filling recipe itself is pretty easy, and it's from King Arthur Flour's website -- an always reliable source of good recipes. Make sure to refrigerate any leftovers -- that is, if there are any.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Check out Ciao Chow Linda on Instagram here to find out what’s cooking in my kitchen each day (and more).

Chocolate Cream Pie

  • 1 1/2 cups (180g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup (46g) vegetable shortening
  • 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup (28g to 57g) ice water


  • 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups (227g) semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (131g) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (21g) cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons (11g) unsweetened cocoa, Dutch-process or natural
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional; for richer chocolate flavor
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup (227g) heavy cream, divided
  • 2 cups (454g) milk


  • 1 cup (227g) heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (28g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Directions
  • To make the crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Work in the shortening until it's in lumps the size of small peas.

  • Dice the butter into 1/2" pieces, and work it into the mixture until you have flakes of butter the size of your fingernail. Add the water 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing with a fork as you sprinkle the water into the dough.

  • When the dough is moist enough to hold together when you squeeze it, with no floury patches or bits of dry pastry in the bottom of the bowl, transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Fold it over on itself three or four times to bring it together completely, then pat it into a disk 3/4" thick, rolling the disk to smooth its edges.

  • Wrap the pastry in plastic and refrigerate it for 30 minutes before rolling.