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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

"Maria Stuarda" | Italian Zucchini Dessert Tart Recipe

These delicious, miniature zucchini tarts hail from Sicily and were named after Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots) for mysterious reasons. Move over, zucchini bread, there's a new sweet in town!

"Maria Stuarda" | Italian Zucchini Dessert Tart Recipe

Watch the Pasta Grammar recipe where we make this recipe here:

Makes 8 3-inch tarts.

For the zucchini "jam," you will need:

  • 17.5 oz. (500g) peeled zucchini

  • 1 cup (200g) sugar

  • The juice of 1/2 lemon

  • Grated lemon zest

To make the tarts, you will need:

  • 165g (a little more than 1 1/2 cup, we recommend using weight) all-purpose flour, plus some extra for dusting

  • 1/3 cup (65g) sugar

  • 1/3 cup (65g) lard

  • 1/2 tsp. (2g) baking powder

  • 1/4 cup (50ml) whole milk

  • A pinch of salt

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 large egg

  • Mini tart tins (3")

  • Butter for greasing the tins

The zucchini "jam" filling is best made the night before so it has time to thicken up. Cut the peeled zucchini into lengthwise quarters and trim the inner seeds out. Chop the remaining zucchini into large chunks.

Boil the zucchini until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain them very well (we recommend squeezing them out) and mash them in a bowl.

Place the mashed zucchini in a small saucepan with the sugar, lemon juice, and a pinch of lemon zest. Stir over medium/low heat until it thickens, about 10 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating overnight.

The next day, begin by making the tart crust dough. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, lard, baking powder, milk, salt and vanilla extract. Crack the egg into a separate dish, whisk it, and add about 1/3 of it into the dough. Save the rest for later!

Briskly mix all of the ingredients by hand until a consistent dough forms. Roll it into a ball, wrap it in plastic, press it into a disc, and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 355 degrees F (180 C). Grease the tart tins with butter.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out until it is about 1/8-inch (1/3 cm) thick. Feel free to do this in batches, rolling half of the dough out first. Keep the other half wrapped in plastic while you work. Dust the dough and surface with flour as necessary if it's too sticky. Using a round jar or cup that is slightly bigger than the diameter of your tart tins, cut out 8 circles of dough.

Place each disc of dough into a tin and press them gently into the corners. Fill each tart with zucchini jam up to the brim. Roll out the leftover dough as before and cut smalls lattice strips for topping the tarts. Finish by lightly brushing the lattices with the remaining egg.

Bake the tarts for 30-40 minutes, or until the crust becomes golden. Serve cold. Buon appetito!

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