There are a million things I want to tell you about this pie, but it is late. Quite late, and I should really be tucked under my flannel sheets right now. I couldn’t rest my head, though, until I got this recipe up to share in time for Easter Sunday. Pizza di Ricotta Dolce is perhaps the most quintessential Easter dessert for me, though I must confess it isn’t one I grew up eating.
This Italian ricotta cheese pie was always available at our local pastry shop in Carroll Gardens, and it’s quite possible my family used to buy it. Actually, I’m certain they did, along with pastiera, a ricotta cheese & grain pie. Of course, what kid would choose it over, say, a cannoli, or aragosta—a sfogliatelle, lobster tail shaped pastry filled with cream?
My children are following in my footsteps. Once they do come to their senses, and discover the beauty of Pizza di Ricotta Dolce, they are going to eat a whole heck of a lot of it to make up for lost time (if they’re anything like their mama). I first began buying it when I started hosting Easter about 10 years ago, maybe more. Court Pastry usually keeps them right above the case with the cannoli, and in an effort to balance out an order of a dozen pastries, I asked for one or two to be included. I’ve been smitten with it ever since.
This is the one pastry I’ve missed most since moving away from Brooklyn. That’s saying a LOT. Do you know how many pastries there are to choose from, and how sweet my sweet tooth really is? This is the least sweet of them all. There’s just enough sugar to remind that while there’s cheese tucked inside, it’s most definitely a dessert course, and not savory. Also, it’s perfect with a hot cup of coffee, so I consider it a breakfast food, too.
Because I always choose to make what I can from scratch, I made the ricotta cheese for the filling. It’s easy—I swear. I won’t hold you to my standards, though, so if you want to use the store-bought stuff, go for it. Be sure to drain the ricotta to rid it of as much water as possible. This is how I do it at home.
I’m not letting you off the hook on the pastry dough, though. Store-bought pie crust will not do here since the pastry is a pasta frolla, an Italian short pastry crust that has sugar and a bit of lemon zest. If you’re trying to guess what this pie tastes like, imagine a sweet pastry dough and an Italian cheesecake had a lovechild—their offspring would be Pizza di Ricotta Dolce. It’s essentially a ricotta based cheesecake cloaked in a sweet, slightly lemony, buttery crust. It is as amazing as it sounds, unless you’re like my children, and hate ricotta cheese (if they didn’t look like me, I’d request DNA testing).
Okay, the call of my pillow and pajamas is beyond irresistible at this point. It’s time for some shut-eye. I need to be bright and perky to bake some cakes and pies at the restaurant in the morning. Hope everyone has a happy weekend, regardless of what you’re celebrating! xo
One Year Ago: Rosemary Rise
Two Years Ago: Easy, Homemade Granola Bars
Three Years Ago: Eggs in Purgatory
Four Years Ago: Why We Cook
Five Years Ago: Vegetarian Matzah Ball Soup
Six Years Ago: Lemon Thyme & Hummus Egg Salad
Seven Years Ago: Gnocchi, a Love Story
Eight Years Ago: Easy, Cheesy Crackers
This recipe is now part of my new site, Simmering. It can be found here.