Monday, May 8, 2017

Meatless Monday: Ricotta Pie

It’s a tradition in my family to have Ricotta Pie for dessert on Easter (and Thanksgiving or any other time calling for pie). The tradition was handed down from the Italian side of the family and the recipe was one my father’s sister Stephenie shared with my mother. My mom always baked the ricotta pies, so I always made something else, usually pumpkin for Thanksgiving. After she died in 2014, my sister Diane and/or her daughters assumed the role of ricotta pie makers.

This Easter I found myself staying in New Haven and having dinner with friends. I was responsible for dessert, so I decided to try my hand at the pie. I got the recipe from Diane. I even decided to make the eggy crust. I went to the store to buy what I needed.

The night before I Easter I set about to make the pie. I got out my electric mixer, my mixing bowls, my rolling pin, and all my other equipment. I got out the ingredients. I re-read the recipe. Oh no! My angst had been so great, apparently, that I had forgotten to buy the one ingredient that had never made sense to me — sweetened, condensed milk! What to do?

I turned to google search for help and found an “authentic 150 year old family recipe” for ricotta pie. The recipe came from Martha Pesa’s wonderful blog A Family Feast via Pea Pod!). It did not call for condensed milk. It would make one pie, all I needed.

I was eager to try it for two reasons:
  • I had all the ingredients.
  • The crust called for olive oil rather than butter or shortening.
I put away my mixer, swapped out my ingredients, and got started.

Despite the warning in the recipe, I found the crust very easy to blend and roll out. And it had a self-healing quality to it; if there was too much crust hanging over in one place it was very easy to break it off and add it to a place that was a little light, something that is harder to do with traditional pie crust. 

The filling was a snap.

The other unusual part of the recipe was that it called for baking the pie over a bath of hot water, and specified that you leave it in the oven for ten minutes after turning the oven off, without peeking! 

I followed the directions exactly and ended up with one delicious pie. With almond and vanilla extract and 1/3 cup of sugar, the crust had a cookie-like quality when baked. The filling was perfectly set.

My whole-hearted recommendation is to give this recipe a try.

Enjoy! “See you” again soon, I promise. My posts have been far between, I know. But I have been busy! Stay tuned to learn some of things I've been up to.

On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

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