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This blackberry-raspberry ricotta tart includes a drizzle of warm, smoky syrup.Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

As any five-year-old will tell you, sweet is a taste that's easy to love, but really, it's only a first step into the range of flavours and textures that make a great dessert. This berry tart has less than two tablespoons of granulated sugar. Instead it relies on juicy, tart berries, slightly salty ricotta cheese, a wisp of buttery crust and a drizzle of warm, smoky syrup for complexity and all-around deliciousness.

Servings: 8

Ready Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes, including chilling and cooling time


1 1/4 cups flour

5 tsp sugar, divided

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into cubes

1 large egg yolk

3-5 tbsp ice-cold water

1/2 cup ricotta

2 tbsp sour cream

3-4 half-pint packages blackberries, raspberries or any combination of the two

1/4 cup maple syrup


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix flour, 2 teaspoons sugar and salt until just combined. Add butter and, using two knives, a pastry blender or cool fingertips, mix into flour until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Mix in egg yolk, then add cold water by the tablespoonful until dough just comes together. Turn out onto a floured countertop and knead just once or twice before gathering into a ball and wrapping in plastic. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Roll dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Transfer to a greased and floured or non-stick 11-inch tart pan, pressing up pan sides and trimming excess dough. (The pans with a removable ring around the outside are great.) Prick bottom of tart shell several times with a fork and line with parchment paper. Weigh down with raw rice, beans or pie weights and bake on oven’s lower rack for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a mini food processor or blender, combine ricotta, sour cream and remaining sugar. Process for 60 seconds. Spread ricotta mixture across bottom of tart shell. Arrange berries in concentric circles over top. Warm maple syrup for a few minutes on a stove top and drizzle over berries.