Ricotta Tarts by the late Sabina Ledda. Image credit: Paolismith Creative and Giovanni Pilù of Pilu’s @ Freshwater

Sardinian Ricotta Tarts Recipe (Pardulas)

A delicious and simple recipe for ricotta tarts by the late Sabina Ledda – a much admired Melbourne based Sardinian home cook.

 

At the end of 2019 a collaboration saw the Sardinian Cultural Association of Melbourne, the Sardinian Association of Sydney and the Queensland Sardinian Culture Club, launch Terra Sarda (Land of Sardinia)a unique cookbook celebrating and featuring recipes from the Sardinian community across Australia.

 

The Sardinian Cultural Association of Melbourne generously shared with me an Easter recipe that features in the book for ricotta tarts. As mentioned in the Terra Sarda cookbook:

These little fantastic tarts go under many names such as Formagelle, Pardulas, or Casadinas. The thin pastry in the shape of a small basket contains a delicious mix of ricotta and sultanas; and sometimes with saffron. They are traditionally made at Easter and are very popular at Pasquetta (Easter Monday) picnic.

“These were one of my mother’s favourite sweets,” explains her son Pino Ledda. “She learnt to cook as a young girl from her mother and later she continued to expand her knowledge while working as a cook in Rome. She preferred simple dishes, ‘You only need a little to be happy, she used to say.”

 

Ricotta Tarts (Pardulas)

by the late Sabina Ledda

 

Ingredients:

Pastry:

200g flour (type 00)

40g strutto (lard) or butter

pinch salt

water as necessary to obtain a firm consistency

 

Filling:

500g ricotta, well drained

100g sugar

2 tbsp crema pasticcera (Italian pastry cream)

pinch saffron

1 handful sultanas (placed in warm water to reconstitute)

dry and grinded orange peel or zest of an orange

 

Crema pasticcera (Italian pastry cream):

4 egg yolks

4 tbsp sugar

30g flour

1/2 litre milk

vanilla extract

 

Method

To make the pastry case mix the ingredients together to make a dough and knead it until it is smooth and firm. Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes.

 

Meanwhile prepare the crema pasticcera (Italian pastry cream). Heat the milk, add the vanilla extract. In a pot whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and slowly add the sieved flour. Mix well making sure that there are no lumps. Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, mixing gently. Place the pot on the heat and continue stirring for 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic film to prevent a skin from forming.

 

Filling: Push the ricotta through a sieve into a bowl, add the crema pasticerra, saffron, sultanas, sugar and orange peel. Mix well.

 

Cut the dough in half and feed it through a pasta machine, repeating the process to obtain a long, thin sheet of pastry. Cut out round shapes of pastry about 6cm in diameter. Place a heaped teaspoon of ricotta filling on each disc. Quickly fold and pinch the pastry sides to form a little basket (see cover image for an idea of the shape) and carefully lay the pardulas on an oven tray covered with baking paper.

 

Cook in a 150° – 190° C oven for 20 minutes until golden.

 

Notes: I personally found that baking the tarts at 190° C worked best. Depending on the amount of tarts you place on your tray they may require slightly more or less time to become golden, so do pay attention to their colour during cooking time.

 

About Terra Sarda the cookbook

Terra Sarda is available to purchase for $40GST+postage. To order a copy of the cookbook, please email: sardi.melbourne@bigpond.com or the President of the Sardinian Cultural Association (a not-for-profit), at: paullostia@bigpond.com

Terra Sarda was funded with the assistance of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia

Terra Sarda was researched and written by Gabriella Gomersall Hubbard, Edited by Christopher Baker and Project Managed by Christopher Baker and Paolo Lostia