Ground cherries can be expensive, which is one of the reasons I chose to grown them. They’re lovely if you peel the husk off and pop them as you’re cooking other things, but I’d never actually cooked with them before this week. I had some ricotta leftover from a recipe for stuffed zucchini-blossoms, and so I took out a leaf of puff pastry from my freezer and started playing around. I thought of what is ideal with ricotta: honey, pine-nuts, some lemon zest and a bowl of freshly-husked ground cherries.
This recipe is dead-easy and takes all of 30 minutes to complete, start to finish. It’s an elegant end to a dinner with friends, and if your guests are like me, they’ll be marveling about how much this dessert reminds them of Cap N’ Crunchberries.
Ground Cherry Tarts with Ricotta, Honey, and Pine-NutsI chose to sweeten these tarts with honey, as ground cherries are already quite sweet and I try not to add sugar whenever possible. The result is a subtly sweet tart, with blistered ground cherries, toasted pine-nuts, and nice, lemony ricotta.
4 4x4 squares of puff pastry
1 cup ground cherries, peeled from their husks, with a few left out for garnish
3/4 cup of ricotta, drained
3 Tbs. of honey
1 pinch of salt
1/4 cup of raw pine nuts
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degreed Farenheit.
2. Place the 4 puff pastry squares on a large sheet.pan.
3. In a bowl, whisk together the ricotta, honey, and salt. Grate the lemon zest over the bowl, then roll the lemon on the board to loosen the juices. Juice 1 half of the lemon into the bowl, and whisk again. Taste, and if it’s not quite to your liking, juice the other half. Be careful not to add to much liquid or the puff pastry will not rise!
4. Place a good dollop of the ricotta mixture in the center of each tart, leaving 1/4-1/2 inch border. You may have some filling leftover, just save it for breakfast the next morning. (I enjoyed mine with some peach slices).
5. Distribute the ground cherries among the pastry squares. Sprinkle 1 Tbs. of pine nuts over each tart.
6. Bake the tarts for 12 minutes, or until the ground cherries have blistered ever-so-slightly and the edges of the tarts have puffed, risen, and turned slightly golden.
7. When they’re ready, remove from the oven and transfer each tart to a cooling rack. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Best if eaten the day of.
YIELD: 4 servings.