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Chocolate-Topped Ricotta Mini Tartlets

Single serving tartlets featuring a cannoli-like filling (but thicker, more like a cheesecake) with a chocolate "cap"

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword chocolate, ricotta, single serving, tartlets
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings 14 tartlets
Author Laura

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Mini Tartlets

  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola or safflower, for oiling the tartlet or mini muffin shells
  • 1& 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs, lightly pressed into measuring cup (see note) About 12 4-part crackers/6 oz./172 g.
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Ricotta Filling

  • 8 ounces ricotta, preferably whole milk, drained (see note) 227 g. (approximately 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar 16 g.
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream 14 g.

Chocolate Topping (Ganache)

  • 4 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 113 g.
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder 7 g.
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (see note) 4 oz./120 ml.

Instructions

Crusts for MIni Tartlets

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F/177°C. Oil 12 or more tartlet or mini muffin shells. The number of shells depends on their size. For tartlet shells like mine that are 1 & 1/2 -inches on bottom and 2 & 1/2 inches on top, about 3/4-inch high, the recipe will make about enough for 12 shells, with a bit of filling and frosting leftover. For smaller mini muffin pans (less than 2-inches on top), you will fill closer to 24 shells.

  2. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a medium bowl and toss until well mixed. Spoon equal amounts into the tartlet or mini muffin pans. Using your hands, press the mixture well into the bottom and up the sides of each pan.

  3. Bake the shells for about 10 minutes, until they turn golden brown. If they puff up during baking, as soon as you can touch them, gently push the filling down with the back of a spoon. Cool the shells to room temperature on a wire rack before filling. Leave the oven on.

Ricotta Filling

  1. Combine the drained ricotta, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream. Fold until combined.

  2. Spoon the filling equally into the tartlet or mini muffin shells. Smooth out the tops and bake them for 20-25 minutes until the filling is set and begins to look a bit cracked, but not browned.

  3. Cool the tartlets or mini muffin shells on a wire rack until they are cool enough to handle. Using a sharp knife, gently pry the baked tartlets/mini muffins away from the shells, then tapping them out into your hand or onto a wire rack and then placing them right side up for the final step, adding the chocolate topping.

Chocolate Topping

  1. Put the finely chopped chocolate and the cocoa in a medium-small bowl.

  2. While the baked filling in the shells is cooling, heat the heavy cream just until it comes to a simmer. Remove it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate and cocoa. Let it sit for about 30 seconds, then gently fold the heavy cream into the chocolate and cocoa until the mixture is glossy and smooth.

  3. Using one or two spoons, spoon the ganache over the baked tartlets. (I like to use two spoons, drizzling with one and using the second to push the ganache off the first spoon.) Although you can even the drizzle out using a knife or the back of a spoon, it should be thin enough to coat without much help from you and looks best if there is a minimum of fiddling after you pour the ganache on. It's fine if a bit of the ricotta filling shows around the edges.

Recipe Notes

Graham cracker crusts - Although a rolling pin works to crush the graham crackers for the crust, these small delights need finely ground graham crackers for the crust to achieve the right look and texture. A food processor works well for this task - use it if you have one. 

Ricotta filling - Of course, homemade ricotta is the best and fresh ricotta from a specialty store is lovely too. But good quality store-bought ricotta works just fine in this recipe. 

Heavy cream - Regardless of how it is labelled (as either heavy or whipping cream), try to find the ingredient without thickeners. But if you only have cream with thickener, it will work.