I've been a busy little bee in the kitchen today, but I wanted to take a moment to share with you all a holiday recipe that is special to me - Ricotta Pie, a dessert my family makes for Easter.
Ricotta pie is one of those treats that every Italian grandmother probably has her own recipe for (I'm sure you can find many variations on the internet) but this one comes from my dad's mother, Yaya Vittles.
Traditionally, ricotta pie is made with either lemon or orange zest - if you don't care for citrus feel free to leave it out for a 'vanilla' flavor. (See my notes at the bottom of the recipe).
I happen to like it both ways :)
- 2 C. part-skim ricotta cheese
- ½ C. sugar
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1 t. orange zest (see note below)
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 C. heavy cream
- 1 unbaked 9” pie shell (you can use store-bought or your favorite recipe)
- cinnamon, to taste
Prepare pie shell in 9” pie pan, and preheat oven 350 degrees. Place ricotta in the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat 2 minutes on medium-high until fluffy. Add sugar, vanilla, and orange zest, and beat an additional 30 seconds at same speed.
Reduce speed to low, and while mixer is running add eggs one at a time – beat gently until incorporated, scraping down sides as necessary. Add heavy cream and beat on medium until incorporated well.
Pour filling into prepared pie shell and sprinkle top with cinnamon to taste. Bake pie 45-55 minutes on middle rack or until filling is mostly set but the very center still jiggles a bit when you gently shake the pan. (Do not pick up pie, just wiggle gently on rack.) It's important that you watch the pie carefully around 45 minutes- you don't want the pie to be underbaked, but if it cooks too much it will start to poof up and the surface will crack everywhere.
Turn off oven and prop open door slightly (use a wooden spoon if door won’t do this on its own). Leave pie in oven for another 30 minutes, then remove and cool completely on wire rack.
Serve at room temperature or cold. Refrigerate any leftovers. Makes one 9-inch pie.
Note: Traditional ricotta pie is made with orange or lemon zest. If you don’t want the pie to have a citrus taste, simply leave it out. My grandmother sometimes sprinkles chocolate chips over the top of the pie before putting it in the oven (they sink to the bottom during baking) but this is a matter of preference.