Italian Easter Ricotta Pie

This weekend is a very special weekend for many people all across the world.  Tomorrow is Easter Sunday.  Easter baskets will be given, mass will be attended and families will gather for wonderful meals.  After an Easter meal a fun and festive dessert is usually served.  One of my favorite Easter inspired desserts is the traditional Italian Easter Ricotta Pie.

Easter ricotta pie is also known as Pastiera or Torta di ricotta.  The ricotta pie is found all over Italy and is known to have originated in Neapolitan.  According to many the pies were created in small batches, wrapped nicely and given away as Easter day gifts.  The holiday pie is not overly sweet and can be served warm, cold or at room temperature  Some have compared it to a quiche and is sometimes served at Easter brunch.

There are many variations of this type of ricotta pie.  The base is traditionally ricotta, eggs and sugar.  However, the flavor profile can be changed up depending on the add ins that are mixed into the base.  Flavors include lemon or orange zest, raisins, candied fruit or chocolate chips.  For this Easter ricotta pie I have chosen to use orange and chocolate chips as the highlighted flavors.

Easter Pie

– Crust

1 2/3 cups all purpose flour 

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup butter (cold and diced)

2 eggs

pinch of salt

pinch of baking powder

– Filling

15 oz ricotta cheese

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1 teaspoon orange extract

4 eggs

2/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Add off of the pie crust ingredients to a food processor or blender.  Pulse on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until the ingredients form a ball shape.  Remove the ball from the food processor or blender and wrap in plastic wrap.  Place in the refrigerator and chill for about 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the chilled crust dough ball from the refrigerator.  Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to a 10 inch diameter circle.  Line a 9″ round pie pan with the dough, covering the bottom and the sides with the dough.   

In a large mixing bowl combine the ricotta cheese, sugar, flour, orange zest and orange extract.  In a stand up mixer or separate mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, until creamy (about 5 minutes).  Fold the creamy eggs into the cheese mixture.

Pour the pie filling into the pie crust.  Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips and slightly press them into the filling.  Bake the pie in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes.  When the time is up, turn off the oven, crack open the door and let the pie completely cool. For an optional topping, powdered sugar can be dusted on the pie just before serving.  

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