I have found yet another dessert made with ricotta. Yes, I’m obsessed with everything ricotta! I first heard about this cake a few years ago. It was originally a Neapolitan dessert created to celebrate the return of Spring and is now typically made at Easter time. Let’s hope it can entice Spring to come our way!
The traditional recipe is made with a pie crust with a lattice style top and filled with a cooked wheat and ricotta mixture. It is also commonly made with rice instead of wheat. After some research for a recipe I found a Martha Stewart recipe which I have adapted here. I’ll tell you the truth, I’m not crazy about making pie crust so when I came across the recipe I was thrilled. And no crust means less calories as well, right? Which means I can have more cake!
I like the taste of grated lemon rind in my ricotta filling so I reduced the amount of cinnamon and added the grated rind of one lemon. It is important to strain the ricotta of excess water otherwise if it’s too wet, it will take forever for the cake to set while baking. Trust me, I know this. The cake will still be slightly jiggly in the centre when you take it out of the oven, but it will set as it cools so resist the temptation to over bake it. As you can see it’s a simple recipe and you still have time to make it for this Easter weekend. In fact I recommend you make it a day ahead as it tastes better after it has been refrigerated and the flavors have had time to blend together.
If you give this recipe a try, please let me know by tagging me with #mangiabedda on Instagram. Happy Easter to all!
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart. This simplified Pastiera recipe is a take on the triaditional Neopolitan recipe which is usually made with a pie crust.
- 1 quart whole milk
- 3/4 cup Arborio rice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- unsalted butter, for pan
- 3 lbs fresh ricotta, drained through cheesecloth at least 3 hours
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
- confectioners sugar, for serving
Bring milk to a boil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Stir in rice, cinnamon, salt and vanilla extract. Reduce heat to medium low, cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until rice is very tender and has absorbed all the liquid, about 30 minutes.
Remove the pan from heat, stir in the grated lemon zest as well as 3/4 cup of the sugar. Cover and let cool stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 10 inch springform pan. In a large bowl, fold together the rice mixture, ricotta, whole eggs and egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar, very carefully using a rubber spatula. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake until golden, 75-90 minutes and cover with foil if starting to brown too much. Transfer pan to cooling rack.
When cake has cooled completely, run a knife around edge to loosen. Gently remove ring and transfer cake to a plate. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar before serving.