A Spring Tart to Impress

Columbia Pastry Chef Shares One of Her Best Spring Desserts

By Elise Smith, WinnE's Bakery

This recipe was inspired by our Blood Orange Blackberry Ricotta muffins, which were born out of our Lemon Blueberry Ricotta muffins. Blood oranges come on the tail end of winter right into spring. They are bright, fresh, sweet and something a little bit different. They allow for an easy change up to the citrus you incorporate into your cooking and baking, without limiting the palate; such as grapefruit might. I loved the idea of keeping with the theme of spring and tarts say spring to me. So, naturally I took one of my favorite muffin recipes and made it into a tart. Enjoy!

Blood Orange and Blackberry Ricotta Tart


  • 2 c. flour
  • 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (VERY cold and cut into small chunks)
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon zest
  • 6 tbsp. ice water


  • 1/3 c. mascarpone, at room temp
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. blood orange zest
  • 1 3/4 c. Whole milk ricotta, at room temp
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1/8 tsp. salt


  • 2 medium blood oranges
  • 1 cup or 16 blackberries, washed
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside. Butter and flour or use a non-stick 13 3/4" by 4 1/2" tart pan and also set aside.

In a food processor, place the flour, sugar, salt, cubes of butter and zest and pulse, until I sand-like consistency. Add the ice cold water 2 tablespoons at a time and mix on LOW until the dough combines into a ball. Roll out the dough, on a floured work surface. Work until about 1/4" thick or about 18"x6". Then gently roll the whole rolled-out dough onto the rolling pin and unroll the dough atop the prepared tart pan. Press down firmly and remove excess edges.  Place in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to chill. Then, taking a fork, poke holes along the base of the tart. Next, line the inside of the tart with foil and place inside a pie crust weight, we use beans. Bake for 20-25mins, just until the edges are becoming golden. Remove the from the oven to allow to cool.

In a small bowl, place the blackberries, sugar and lemon juice. Mix well and set aside in the juices for at least 10 minutes to macerate. Take the blood oranges and cut the tops and bottoms off of each. Then, carefully cut down along the edge of the orange, cutting away as much rind as possible. After, cut the blood orange in half, lay it down on the flat side and slice into thin slices.

Once complete, set the blood orange slices on a paper towel and pat dry. Also, remove the blackberries from the bowl and set them on a paper towel to dry slightly.

Increase the oven temperature to 375˚. Then, using a stand or hand mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugar, lemon, orange zest, ricotta, whole egg and salt. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until well incorporated and fluffy. Than, on LOW speed, beat in the egg white, until just combined.

Pour the filling into the cooled tart shell and smooth along the top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 15 minutes. The center will still jiggle, when shaken, and that's fine. Remove from the oven and place atop a cooling rack. Starting from opposite ends take the dried slices of Blood oranges and lay them diagonally across the top in two rows.

Then, in the remaining space, add your blackberries in two rows, from opposite ends. Put the tart back in the oven for additional 5-7 minutes. After, remove and allow to cool a room temperature for at least 20 minutes and then place in the fridge to continue chilling for no less than an hour. Take the tart from the refrigerator and cut serving slices. I like to cut my tart into small triangles and serve it with coffee and tea.

Chef Tip:  You can make this recipe gluten-free, swapping out cup for cup gluten-free flour of your choice. Also, for those who'd like a sweeter bite, drizzle a small amount of honey atop the tart and enjoy!

Note: You may have leftover tart crust and ricotta filling to use for other fun things. Wrap the crust tightly into layers of cling wrap for storing or freezing. Place the filling in an airtight container for up to 2 days, maybe top other fresh fruit with the filling or oatmeal for a delicious breakfast.

Elise Smith is the owner and head baker of WinniE's Bakery. The Winnie in WinniE's Bakery comes from her maternal grandmother, the original Winnie, who owned her own bakery. WinniE's Bakery is a baked order and small batch wholesale bakery located in Columbia, Maryland. 

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