Showing posts with label ricotta pie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ricotta pie. Show all posts

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Italian Ricotta and Rice Pie--Family Secrets Revealed!





Annette with her mother and sister
Annette's family
LUCY BURDETTE: I got to talking about Easter dinner with my good friends Ang and Annette Pompano and the sad truth emerged--my family didn't have a stock of special Easter dishes. 




Whereas Annette and Ang both remember wonderful feasts from their Italian families, including amazing Italian rice pies. I begged for the recipe and share it here.

 

This is Annette's family version, though the maraschino cherries are from Ang's side of the family. Annette warned me that one of her aunts would leave out an ingredient or two when she gave out her recipes. No one has ever figured out how to make her most special frosting--it will go to the grave when she does.

But I made this recipe for Easter dinner, and it came out beautifully...




Annette Pompano's Italian Rice Pie, with Cherries from Ang

Makes two 8” pies

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked white rice (not brown, not par-boiled)
2 cups whole milk
2 cups water
1 lb. ricotta cheese
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 eggs
Peel of one orange, zested
1/2 6 oz bottle maraschino cherries (chopped)

Soak rice in water (enough to cover) for ½ hour. Drain rice (this water is not part of the above)
Simmer rice with milk and water until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. (You will think you have too much liquid, but the rice will absorb this as it cools.

(This is a good time to make the crust. See below.)

Mix cooled rice, ricotta, sugar, and cream in a large bowl. Set aside.

Blend eggs and orange zest in a blender or food processor until pieces of peel are very small. Add to the rice mixture. Stir well.

Fold in chopped maraschino cherries (don’t mix in earlier or the pie will be pink.)
Pour into two 9” crusts (see sweet crust recipe). Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. If the crust gets too brown, cover edges with foil for the last 15 minutes.


Italian Sweet Crust

¾ cup shortening (butter is fine--chilled)
½ cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ tsp. baking power
2 ½ cups flour
3 eggs




(I did this a little differently than Annette does, but ingredients are
the same.) Place sugar, salt, baking powder and flour in a food processor and pulse to combine. Cut the butter into chunks, add it to the bowl, and pulse until pieces are pebbly. (Do not over mix or crust will be tough.)Beat the eggs and vanilla together and mix this in. Divide the dough into two pieces and knead briefly into disks. Wrap them in waxed paper and refrigerate until the filling is ready.

Flour surface and rolling pin. Roll out dough adding flour as needed to prevent sticking and fit the dough into two 9 inch pie pans. Add the filling, mixing the cherries into part or all of the filling first.  Bake at 325 for an hour, or until set. Cool the pies, then chill and

serve cold.

 
 In this photo, the rice pie without cherries is on the left, with a piece of killer coconut cake on the right. Oh my gosh, it was heaven. (I've got to track down that recipe too...)



When Annette isn't cooking, she is often found painting. Here's one of her favorites. You can find her on Facebook.


 And please like Lucy's page while you're there!




And don't forget to pre-order TOPPED CHEF, coming May 7!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cleo Coyle's Italian Easter Pie Palmiers



Every year at Pasqua, my late Aunt Mary would make her Easter Pie. This rustic pie was amazing to me not because it was filled with dozens of ingredients, but because it was so satisfying yet so simple. She called it a "pizza," but Americans would probably recognize it as closer to a white calzone.

My aunt would fill her rustic Easter pie with ricotta; diced ham; fresh parsley (always fresh!); strong, grated Italian cheese; and raw eggs for binding. 



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She'd mix up a delicious, slightly sweet dough using just her hands on a big bread board. Then she'd roll our the dough, mound in the filling, fold over the dough, seal it, and bake it. After it was baked and chilled (yes, chilled!), we would cut thin slices and eat it at all hours -- for breakfast, lunch, snacks, as an appetizer before dinner, or a savory dessert after.

Italian Easter Pies are a famous tradition, but the recipe can differ from house to house. In our neighborhood that was quite literal. The family next door made a much more elaborate pie with sausage, whole boiled eggs, and a bread-like yeast crust. Other families make theirs in a pie tin with spinach as an ingredient.

My Aunt Mary Capaccio
I greatly miss my Aunt Mary. She came to the USA from Italy (with my mother), lived with us during my childhood, and (in so many ways) was like a second mother to me and my sister. Aunt Mary passed away almost exactly ten years ago, and I still yearn for all the wonderful foods she made for our family. Although I do try to duplicate her recipes, it's the cooking from her heart that I miss the most.

That's why I am dedicating my post to her today with the tastes of her Easter Pie folded into a palmier. The French palmier (a cookie made of sugar-dusted puff pastry) is actually named after a palm leaf, but the shape reminds me more of a heart and that seemed just perfect for my memory of Aunt Mary and her Easter Pie. I can also testify that a bite of this palmier (after it is baked and chilled) will give you an almost identical taste to what my aunt made every Easter.


Buona Pasqua, Aunt Mary!
Happy Easter, everyone!
~ Cleo




Cleo Coyle's
Easter Pie
Palmiers

Makes 10 savory palmiers

Serve as an appetizer or snack; taste can be compared to a quiche.

For a printable, sendable, saveable
(pdf) version of this
recipe, click here

Ingredients

1 cup ricotta cheese (whole milk)
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup flat leaf Italian parsley (fresh!), finely chopped
1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (or 10 x 10-inch homemade)
1 egg, lightly beaten
5 thin slices of good quality ham or prosciutto

Method

Step 1: Mix the filling - In a small bowl, mix the ricotta, grated Romano, and finely chopped fresh parsley. (I just use a good handful, which is about 1/2 cup. When you chop it finely, the volume measure goes down to 1/4 cup.) This filling should be very well mixed--be sure to work in all of the grated cheese and parsley. Set aside in the fridge to keep it cold.

Step 2: Prepare the pastry - Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. The paper is mandatory. Not only will it help prevent your palmiers from scorching on your pan's hot spots, it will help you fold the puff pastry when the time comes. Lay the puff pastry out on the parchment paper. Use your favorite recipe or go with the Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry sheets. If you've never used these before, see the photo below...



Two folded sheets of puff pastry come in one package. Take out one sheet and allow it to thaw about 30 minutes (or you can cheat and microwave it on low for no more than 10 seconds to thaw it slightly). Now unfold the dough. If there are any cracks, wet your finger and press the dough together to mend it. TIP: Handle the dough as little as possible and keep it cold during the assembly process by returning it to the fridge to re-chill.

Step 3: Brush and layer - Lightly beat the egg and brush it over the entire sheet of puff pastry. Then mound the ricotta cheese mixture onto the egg-washed pastry. Use a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth the filling into an even layer. Now lay your thin slices of ham (or prosciutto) over the top layer of ricotta and fold.



Step 4: Fold - You want to fold this 10 x 10-inch sheet like a letter, into thirds and then a final time so that the two folded layers are stacked. I like to use the parchment paper to lift and fold, which prevents my hands from warming the puff pastry.





Step 5: Chill and slice - Chill the dough for at least 20 minutes and then cut into 1-inch slices. The chilling is necessary for the best result. If the dough is warm, it will begin to give and bend as you cut it, and you're palmiers will not hold their pretty shapes. Set the slices on their sides, leaving room between each to allow space for expansion while baking.




Step 6 - Bake and cool - Bake 15 to 20 minutes in an oven that is well pre-heated to 400 degrees F. The Easter Pie Palmiers are done when the pastry has puffed and turned golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the palmiers to cool a bit before carefully transferring to a rack. Allow these savory goodies to cool to room temperature before eating. If you want to experience the true taste of a traditional Italian Easter Pie, then chill these a bit in the fridge, take them out, and...








Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
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