Friday, April 10, 2009

Ricotta Pie

Making Traditions Come Alive!

In Rhode Island, and other heavily Italian populated areas, it is tradition on Easter to make and eat rice pies, rice and ricotta pies, also known as pastiera and ricotta pies. Although I am Italian, on my mom's side, she nor I have ever made or even eaten one. Can you believe that? I don't know what took so long but I finally did it. I made a ricotta pie. I have wanted to make one for such a long time and somehow never got to it.

It was so exciting, getting all the ingredients together, trying to figure out which way to go with it. Should I add pineapple, chocolate chips, candied fruit, etc.? I looked at many recipes and and got some ideas from Susan's blog Food Blogga, and also from Emeril. I sort of created my own based on everything I looked at.

Also, it was my first time using a real vanilla bean. YUM!!! So much fun... I will definately be using these again!

I couldn't wait for my mom to try the pie, so I decided to film her first bite...
Here it is.

She's so cute!!! I love her to pieces.

Italian Ricotta Pie
For the dough:

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter; cut into pieces
1 large egg
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

1 1/2 pounds reduced-fat ricotta cheese, drained well
3/4 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 vanilla bean, inside scraped out
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 12-15 times or until the flour mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and 2 1/2 tablespoons of water and pulse repeatedly until the mixture forms a ball; adding more water if necessary. Remove the dough from the processor, form a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or place in the freezer while making filling.

Roll the dough out between two sheets of waxed paper to 1/8-inch thick. Fit the dough into a greased spring form pan or a greased 9 1/2-inch deep dish pie pan. If using a spring form pan, pat the dough into the bottom of the pan and up 3/4 of the sides. If using pie plate, trim the edges so that an inch hangs over the sides and refrigerate.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the ricotta cheese, orange zest and vanilla bean scrapings and sugar until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add chocolate and pine nuts and stir to combine.

Pour the filling into the pastry-lined pie pan. If using a pie plate crimp the edges decoratively using either your fingers or a fork.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425º; lower temp to 350º and bake for 40 minutes, or until the pastry is light golden brown and the filling is just set (and does not jiggle when moved). If the edges of the pie start to brown, cover them with a piece of aluminum foil wrapped around the pie.

Remove the oven and cool on a wire rack. The pie can be served slightly warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Note: Don't worry too much if you see cracks form on the top of the pie. As it cools, the filling will sink a bit and the crack become less apparent.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Aww love the video on your mom!! And the pie :-)

wineandroasts said...

What a cute momma!

I am of Polish extraction, but grew up in a neighborhood full of Italian families. As a result, I cook Italian as much as I cook Polish (that is to say, A LOT!) and make Ricotta Pie with a pineapple topping.

I don't remember it being an Easter specialty...anyway, my recipe is from - of all places - The Sopranos cookbook. Very quick, easy and good!

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Joanne said...

I've had this once before and LOVED it!

Artfully Yours said...

Yummers Annie! The pie looks and sounds dee-lish! And, I LOVE the idea of dining out and desserting at home! A definite thought for next time! (my girls might not like it tho )

Jen said...

best video ever!!!

Maria said...

Great post! The pie looks wonderful!

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Elyse said...

Oh my goodness. This pie looks awesome. And can we talk about how precious your mom is??! So glad the two of you could share this Italian pie together.

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Unknown said...

so cute, i love it!

Emily said...

Oh man, I really, really want to try this pie. It looks and sounds so good. I already know I would like it!

I wish I were Italian.

Anonymous said...

I really ate the pie .It looks good,taste good is delicious.Good job Annie,bambola

Sara said...

This looks so delicious! I never think to bake with ricotta, but I should :)

Anonymous said...
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Crystal said...

My gosh, your mom is so cute!!! Glad she liked it :)

In regards to asparagus, I always used to overcook it too...or we'd just throw it on the grill and it would turn out tough. I've found that blanching it for like 1-2 minutes max, then putting it in ice water helps a lot! Then you can grill it or whatever you'd like to do with it. Good luck!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Ooh, I'm so glad you made a ricotta pie! And your mom is so sweet. You're making me miss my mom now too.

Aggie said...

Oh I love ricotta pie! I made one for Easter too! Mine had a pineapple topping...yours looks so delicious!!!

Unknown said...

She is so cute! That could totally be one of those video shorts on the food network!