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Torta di Ricotta -- Ricotta Pie

From Cosa Bolle in Pentola, the Newsletter:
I've had a number of requests for a torta di ricotta, ricotta pie, of late. Like all other traditional recipes, there are many variations to this, some simple and others quite complex. Here's a Neapolitan version that's on the complex side.

For the crust:
2 1/2 cups (250 g) flour
2/3 cup (125 g) unsalted butter or rendered lard
2/3 cup (125 g) sugar
3 yolks
For the filling:
2/3 pound (300 g) fresh ricotta
2/3 cup (125 g) sugar
The grated zest of half an orange
2 yolks
1/4 pound (100 g) finely minced candied melon peel -- you can use other candied fruit if need be
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the four and sugar and cream the butter. Combine the ingredients of the dough, using a pastry cutter and working the dough as little as possible with your hands. Form it into a ball and let it sit in a cool place for an hour.

In the meantime, put the ricotta through a strainer, combine it with the sugar, and beat the mixture with a fork until it is smooth and creamy. Lightly beat the yolks and work them into the mixture a bit at a time, and finally stir in the minced candied fruit.

Divide the dough into two unequal pieces. Use the larger one to line a buttered 8-inch pie pan. Fill the pie with the filling, cover it with the second piece of crust, tamping down around the edges, and bake it in a moderate oven for about an hour. Let it cool, remove it from the pie pan, and dust it with powdered sugar.

And here's a Sienese version, once an Easter treat but now made year round. It will come out much simpler, though the recipe is harder to follow:

Begin by making a dough from 1 cup flour, three yolks (reserve the whites), 1/2 cup less 2 tablespoons (70 g) unsalted butter, and 1/2 cup less 2 tablespoons (70 g) sugar.

Spread it in a well-buttered pie pan, covering both bottoms and sides.

Bake the crust.

In the meantime, prepare the filling; take about a pound of ricotta and put it through a strainer, adding sugar to taste. Separate three more eggs, lightly whip the yolks, and combine them with the ricotta, then whip the whites to soft peaks and fold them into the ricotta mixture too. Fill the pie crust with the filling, dot the pie with candied roasted almonds and walnuts, and bake everything for about 10 minutes more, to give the eggs time to set. Dust the pie with powdered sugar and sprinkle it with cocoa powder as soon as you remove it from the oven.

Serve with Vinsanto.

For making the dough follow Mrs. Francesconi's instructions. Mr. Parenti doesn't give a pan size; I'd guess 8-inches. Nor an oven temperature; for baking the crust I'd go with 400 F (200 C) for about 10-15 minutes, and for the filling I'd reduce the heat to 350 F (175 C). You don't want the ricotta to brown.

Classic Italian Recipes

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