3lbsfresh ricotta,drained through cheesecloth at least 2 hours
3largeegg yolks,lightly beaten
powdered sugar,for serving
In a large sauce pan, bring the milk to a boil over medium high heat. Add the cinnamon, salt and vanilla extract. Stir in the rice. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all the milk has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the lemon zest and 1/2 cup sugar. Let cool completely, stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour an -8 inch springform pan.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, whole eggs and egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Use a spatula to fold in the cooled rice mixture. Pour into the prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet in case of leakage while baking.
Bake about 90 minutes, until golden. Cover with foil if starting to brown too much. Transfer pan to cooling rack.
When the pastiera has cooled completely, run a knife around the edge to loosen the ring before removing it. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Keep refrigerated.
It is important to drain the ricotta of excess water. If the batter is too wet, it will take forever for the cake to set while baking.
The cake will still be slightly jiggly in the center when you take it out of the oven. However, it will set as it cools so resist the temptation to over bake it.
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.