Here’s a recipe I’ve been meaning to get to for a long time. Easter is just around the corner and for several years now, ever since I first discovered it, I’ve been making pastiera. This is a Neapolitan Easter specialty made with ricotta and rice (or traditionally with grano cotto). It is delicious and the simplified version I make has no crust. But, I decided I really should learn my mother’s Sicilian Ricotta Pie recipe. At the same time, I’ve added yet another ricotta recipe to my ever growing list. You’ll notice that I’ve now added a ricotta category to my recipe index. I suppose it was about time. This is a perfect dessert for Easter, but don’t forget about the Sicilian Easter Cudurra which is traditionally given to the children!
I think I’ve hesitated getting to this recipe because of that ever intimidating pie crust! It’s one of my least favorite things to make because my crust crimping is never beautiful. This time around you’ll notice I didn’t even try to crimp it and resorted to using a fork to simply press the top and bottom dough together. The dough is also quite delicate and it took me a couple of times to roll it out and transfer to my pie dish in 1 piece. Do make sure you chill your dough for at least 30 minutes (or even longer) before rolling. Trust me, it will be much easier.
Again, this is the typical ricotta pie that my mother has made since forever! I’m also noticing that it’s becoming much easier for me to document my mother’s recipes. Now, when she says as much flour or sugar that’s needed, I’m actually managing to figure it out on my own. Finally! I guess I am becoming an experienced cook after all. I do recommend that you make it at least a day before serving it. It must be completely cooled before serving and it tastes even better after sitting in the fridge for at least one day. Enjoy and Happy Easter!
Mom's Ricotta Pie
My mother's ricotta pie is one of those nostalgic desserts that brings me back to my childhood. Enjoyed at Easter time or any time of year!
- For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 6 tbsp. vegetable shortening I use Crisco
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- For the filling:
- 1 1/2 lbs ricotta drained if very liquidy
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- grated rind of 1/2 lemon
- dash of cinnamon plus more for dusting
- confectioners sugar for dusting optional
- For the crust: If using a food processor: In the bowl of the food processor combine the flour, sugar and baking powder. Add the shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles a course meal. Add the eggs and mix on low speed until the eggs are incorporated. Pour the mixture on a clean, lightly floured surface. Press together until a dough is formed (do not over knead), shape into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Alternately, if making the dough by hand, combine the flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or use your fingers to mix the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs. Shape into a dough as above.
- For the filling: Place all filling in a large bowl and using a wooden spoon stir until well combined.
- To form the pie: Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a 9-inch pie plate. Cut off 2/3 of the dough and reserve the remaining 1/3 for the top. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a 1/4 inch thickness. Dust your dough and work surface with more flour if it sticky. Carefully place the dough on the pie plate. Pour in the ricotta mixture, then roll out the remaining piece of dough and place on the filling. Crimp the edges as desired. Dust lightly with cinnamon and bake for 55 minutes until golden. Cool completely and dust with confectioners sugar, if desired, before serving.