Thursday, April 10, 2014

Easter pies: sweet (ricotta)

It's tha-a-at time of year, when we eats lots of pie...

Apologies for that....but this time of year, Italians do eat lots of pie, both sweet and savory. 

After abstaining from meat, dairy, and eggs for the forty days of Lent (back when one did abstain from them for the forty days of Lent), one’s craving for meat and "i latticini" must have been immense.  It’s then easy to understand how a savory pie that contains pounds of meat and cheese bound together only with eggs came about.

The sweet cheese pie, in contrast, is even by today’s standards, pleasantly light and satisfying.  It is nothing at all like a New York-style cheesecake.  This pie is light, sweet, tender, moist, and has a very nice citrus background flavor.  I think you’ll like it.

The meat pie recipe makes a mountain of pie.....you’ll likely need to double the crust recipe to accommodate all the filling, or halve the filling recipe.

Both pies freeze well.  Sweet pie here, savory pie in the next post.

Crust for sweet pie
2 c  flour
1/2 c  sugar
1 tsp  baking powder
pinch  salt
1 c butter (2 sticks)
1  egg yolk
1/2 c  ice-cold water

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in margarine.  Add egg yolk.  Drizzle water into mixture until it holds together.  Refrigerate 15 - 30 minutes.  Roll out and line pie tins.

Filling for sweet pie
1 1/2 lb  ricotta
6  eggs
1 c  sugar
2 Tbp   cooked rice
2 tsp     vanilla
juice of ½ lemon
grated rind of 1 orange
pinch  nutmeg
cinnamon for top

Beat all ingredients until smooth.  Pour into pie crusts.  Dust top with cinnamon.  (You may also put a lattice top crust, if you desire).  Bake at 350°F until cheese is set and a knife comes out clean, about 35- 40 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. i have a recipe for this sweet neapolitan easter pie which uses vermicelli instead of rice. (i believe boiled wheat is most traditional). it also has some orange flower water in it, which adds a very exotic floral aroma. i've also taken to making the ricotta myself, which gives a much creamier quality to the finished pie. my friends love this pie, and i find myself limiting the number of easter guests so that i get my fair share; it's an awful lot of work, but well worth the effort

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