Cheese Pie {crostata Di Ricotta}

  • on June 22, 2007
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Ingrients & Directions

2 c Unsifted all purpose
12 tb Lard or butter,at room
-temperature but not soft.
4 Egg yolks.
1/4 c Sugar.
3 tb Dry marsala wine.
1 ts Freshly grated lemon peel.
1/2 ts Salt.
5 c Ricotta cheese.
1/2 c Sugar.
1 tb Flour.
1/2 ts Salt.
1 ts Vanilla extract.
1 ts Freshly grated orange
4 Egg yolks.
1 tb White raisins,rinsed and
1 tb Diced candied citron.
2 tb Slivered blanched almonds
-or pine nuts.
1 Egg white mixed with 1
-tablespoon water.


In a large mixing bowl,make a well in the center of two cups of
flour.Drop into it the butter {or
lard} ,egg yolks,sugar, Marsala, lemon peel and salt.With your
fingertips mix the ingredients together,incorporating as much flour
as you can.With the heels of your hands,work in the rest of the flour
until the dough is smooth and can be gathered into a ball.Do not,
however,knead the dough or work it any more than necessary.{If you
have an electric mixer with a paddle attachment,all of the
ingredients can be placed in the bowl at once and mixed at low speed
until they are just combined.}The dough can be rolled out at once,
but if it seems at all oily,refrigerate it for about 1 hour,or until
it is firm but not hard.

Pre-heat the oven to 350^.Break off about 1/4 of the dough,dust
lightly with flour and cover with wax paper or plastic wrap ;set
aside in the refrigerator.Reshape the rest of the dough into a ball
and place on a lightly floured board or pastry cloth.With the heel of
your hand,flatten the ball into a disc about 1 inch thick.Dust a
little flour over both sides of the disc to prevent the dough from
sticking,and begin rolling it out—starting from the center and
rolling to within an inch of the far edge.Gently lift the dough,turn
clockwise,and roll out again from the center to the far edge.Repeat
lifting,turning and rolling until the disc is about 1/8 inch thick
and at least 11 inches across.If the dough sticks to the board or
cloth while you are rolling it out,lift it gently with a wide metal
spatula and sprinkle a little flour under it.

Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-11/2-inch spring-form or
false-bottom cake pan.Then,starting at the nearest edge of the
circle,lift the pastry and drape it over the rolling pin. Place the
pin in the middle of the buttered pan,and unfold the pastry over
it,leaving some slack in the center.Gently press the pastry into the
bottom and around the sides of the pan,taking care not to stretch
it.Roll the pin over the edge of the pan,pressing down hard to trim
off the excess pastry around the top.

Unwrap the remaining pastry,place it on a lightly floured board or
cloth,flattenit with the heel of your hand and roll it into a
rectangle about 12 inches long.With a pastry wheel or sharp knife,cut
the rectangle into long,even strips about 12 inch wide.

Combine the ricotta cheese with 1 2 cup of sugar,1 tablespoon flour,1
2 teaspoon salt,the vanilla,grated orange peel and egg yolks,and beat
until they are thoroughly mixed.Stir in the raisins and the candied
orange peel and citron.Spoon this filling into the partially baked
pastry shell,spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula.Sprinkle the
top with slivered almonds or pine nuts,then weave or crisscross the
pastry strips across the pie to make a lattice design.Brush the
strips lightly with the egg-white -an d-water mixture.Bake on the
middle shelf of the oven for 1 to 1&1/4 ho urs,or until the crust is
golden and the filling is firm.

Remove the pie from the oven and slide off the outside the outside
rim of the pan.Cool the pie on a wire rack,leaving the bottom disc in
place.If you would prefer to remove the disc before serving the
pie,wait until the pie is cool,loosen the bottom crust with a wide
metal spatula, and carefully slide the pie off the disc onto a round
serving plate.

Fresh fruits like white grapes,served with crostata di ricotta,make a
tangy, sweet contrast to the richness of the pie. Crostata di ricotta
is one of the oldest Roman dishes.

From the files of Al Rice, North Pole Alaska. Feb 1994

1 Servings

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