Pizza di Ricotta Dolce {Sweet Ricotta Cheese Pie}

Pizza di Ricotta Dolce {Italian Ricotta Cheese Pie} | In Jennie's Kitchen

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.

Pizza di Ricotta Dolce {Italian Ricotta Cheese Pie} | In Jennie's Kitchen

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

Pizza di Ricotta Dolce {Italian Ricotta Cheese Pie} | In Jennie's Kitchen

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Pizza di Ricotta Dolce {Sweet Ricotta Cheese Pie}

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • For the crust
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated natural sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly grated zest of ½ lemon
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) very cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 large egg, cold
  • 2 tablespoons ice cold water
  • For the filling
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese, drained (make your own with this recipe)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Freshly grated zest of ½ lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons candied orange peel, chopped
  • 1 egg lightly beaten with a splash of milk (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
  2. Get started on the pastry crust first. Add the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse once or twice to combine.
  3. Add the butter. Pulse a few times, just until the butter mixes into the flour, forming a sandy mixture with some pea-sized pieces.
  4. Add the egg and water. Pulse 60 to 90 seconds until it comes together into a ball of dough. It’ll start out looking like wet sand, and comes together into a ball during the last few seconds of pulsing.
  5. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Divide it into 2 equal pieces. Set on a dish, and chill in the fridge while you mix the filling.
  6. Make the filling: add the ricotta, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and cinnamon to a deep bowl. Whisk to combine. Stir in the candied orange peel.
  7. On a lightly floured counter, roll one out one piece of dough into a 10-inch circle. Fit it into an 8-inch pie plate. Spread the filling into the pie plate.
  8. Roll the remaining dough into an 8-inch circle, and cut into eight 1-inch wide strips.
  9. Arrange 3 strips of dough, an equal length apart, across the top of the dough. Arrange the remaining strips across in the opposite direction of the first set of strips. For detailed directions and photos to make a proper lattice crust, go read this post by Elise at Simply Recipes. Brush the crust with the beaten egg & milk, if desired, for a shiny finish.
  10. Bake until the filling is set and top of the pie is deep golden color, about 60 minutes. The pie will puff up, and the lattice will break slightly—don’t worry, trust me. Once the pie cools, the filling settles down flat, and the lattice mostly “mends” itself (the few telltale cracks give it character, in my opinion). Let the pie cool completely before cutting.

1 Comment

  • Janice Dunn-Simmonds

    This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it. Your recipe for home made ricotta cheese says it makes 2 cups, it that going to be a pound? I know weights and volume don’t always line up and I want to use the correct amount in this recipe so I want to make sure I make enough of the ricotta. Thanks so much, enjoy your holiday.