Makes one 9-inch pie
Traditional ricotta pie, similar to a cheesecake baked in a pastry shell, is a popular Italian dessert at Easter. This one is mixed with bittersweet chocolate chunks and orange rind. Though time-consuming, if you like to bake, it’s worth the effort. The results are impressive. Begin with pie dough, made ahead and rested at several stages during the process. After you form the dough, it needs to chill for 20 minutes before rolling, but it can be done a day or two in advance. Roll the dough into a very large circle and gently transfer it to a springform pan. It’s important that the dough comes all the way up the sides of the pan because the cheese mixture will fill the pan. Fold any excess dough in slightly to create a rustic edge. At this point, the dough must be chilled again for at least 30 minutes (or refrigerated overnight) while you make the ricotta filling (which can also be made ahead and refrigerated). To avoid a soggy bottom, bake the empty pastry and cool fully before filling the pie. Then add the ricotta mixture and bake until the center no longer jiggles. Some people prefer the pie at room temperature, others chilled. Just be sure to cool it enough so that it is cuts easily.
|¼||teaspoon baking powder|
|½||cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut up|
|3||tablespoons ice water|
|Extra flour (for rolling)|
1. Have on hand a 9-inch springform pan.
2. In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar to blend them. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. In a bowl, stir together the vinegar and water. Sprinkle the liquids over the flour mixture. Pulse the dough just until it forms clumps. (It should not come together to form a ball.)
4. Turn the clumps out onto a lightly floured counter, shape into a ball, flatten into a 4-inch disk, and wrap in foil. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
5. On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough to a 15-inch round. Lift the dough onto the rolling pin and ease it into the springform pan. The dough should come completely up the sides of the pan. With your fingers, press the dough into the edges of the pan around the base. Fold the dough in slightly at the top of the pan and press together firmly, forming a rustic edge. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Prick the base of the pastry lightly with a fork. Line the dough with parchment paper or foil. Fill the parchment or foil with dried beans or pie weights, making sure the beans or weights fill the pan almost completely.
7. Bake the pastry for 15 minutes. or until set. Remove the parchment or foil with the weights. Continue baking the pastry for 10 minutes, or until it looks cooked through. (Total pastry baking time is 25 minutes.) Transfer to a wire rack; cool.
|3||pounds whole-milk ricotta|
|Grated rind of 1 orange|
|4||eggs, lightly beaten|
|2||teaspoons vanilla extract|
|¾||cup bittersweet chocolate chunks, roughly chopped|
|Confectioners’ sugar (for sprinkling)|
1. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, orange rind, sugar, and flour. Whisk until almost smooth. Slowly stir in the eggs until fully incorporated. With a rubber spatula, fold in the vanilla and chocolate.
2. Pour filling into the baked crust and smooth the top.
3. Transfer the pie to the oven. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, or until the filling is set in the middle. Cool completely on a wire rack.
4. Unlatch the rim and set the pie, on the pan bottom, on a large round platter. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Karoline Boehm GoodnickKaroline Boehm Goodnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.