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Abruzzo Recipe: Shepherd’s Tart with Ricotta

ricotta tart italian abruzzo recipe
ricotta tart italian abruzzo recipe

This ricotta tart or ‘La Torta dei Pastori’ was the morning or afternoon snack of the shepherds of Abruzzo while they were away with their flock of sheep. The shepherds’ housewives prepared the tart with the fresh ricotta adding some chocolate if they had, and the lemons the shepherds brought from Apulia during their migration back to Abruzzo.




20 min


20/25 min


10 people


For the dough:

  • 2 medium organic eggs (about 70 gr each)
  • 200 gr flour (type ’00’ or white strong)
  • 50 gr of sugar
  • 80 gr of butter
  • 8 gr of yeast for desserts

For the Ricotta filling:

  • 300 gr of fresh sheep’s ricotta (if you can’t find it, you can use cow ricotta or mascarpone as the last option)
  • 2 tbsp of grated dark chocolate
  • lemon zest
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp of organic honey
  • a drop of cinnamon if you like.


  • A bowl
  • Pan for warming the butter
  • 20 cm tart pan


Grate the lemon zest and in a pan melt the butter and let it on the side. Start mixing the eggs with the sugar. Add the butter, the yeast, and slowly incorporate all the flour.

Roll the dough into a smooth ball and divide it in half. Roll out half of the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about the thickness of a 1E coin, then lift into the tart tin. Press it down gently on the bottom and sides, then trim off any excess pastry.

Add the lemon’s zest, chocolate, and honey into the ricotta and mix it well.

Fill the tart with the ricotta mixture and roll out the remaining dough like if you were making gnocchi.

Lay the long ‘gnocchi’ dough in vertical and horizontal like if you were building a net. Heat the oven to 180 C fan/gas 3/4 and cook for about 20/25 minutes until the dough is coloured.


Mamma’s Top Secrets:

  • Use fresh sheep’s ricotta
  • Use organic fresh eggs
  • Use organic honey


Don’t forget:

  • Don’t heat the butter too much, or the eggs will cook.
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