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Ricotta Pie for Easter

Making Easter pies is a wonderful Italian American tradition that typically involves baking some sort of ricotta based sweet pie. In searching for the perfect bite to make for my own Easter Ricotta Pie, I found numerous versions of ricotta pies that are all claiming to be “authentic.” The main common ingredients in all of them were ricotta, subtle orange flavoring, and secret family tradition. The Ricotta Easter pie is certainly a delicious tradition to start (if you have not already)–whichever version is used.

I decided since this was my first attempt at beginning this tradition, I’d opt for an easier version. This recipe is based on a recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis Easter Pie. The part that makes this recipe so easy is using phyllo dough as the base for the pie. Although phyllo can be challenging to work with (see tips below), overall I found it less time-consuming and very easy as compared to making a homemade pie dough. Maybe next year I’ll try the more traditional and advanced La Pastiera Napoletana recipe for an Easter pie.  But for now, this is a delicious recipe that certainly yields many perfect bites–it is so easy feel free to bake it up any time of year!

Italian Easter Ricotta Pie

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup confectioners or powered sugar (rounded cup)—plus a little extra for garnish (extra garnish optional)
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • 1 (15 oz) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked Arborio/risotto rice
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 6 sheets fresh phyllo sheets (thawed if frozen)
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted

To make:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F

Place sugar, eggs, vanilla, orange zest and ricotta in a food processor until, blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to medium-sized mixing bowl.  Stir in the cooked rice and toasted pine nuts.

Lightly butter a 9-inch glass pie dish.  To prepare crust, working quickly lay 1 phyllo sheet over the bottom and up the sides of the dish, allowing the phyllo to hang over the sides.  Brush the phyllo with the melted butter—including sides hanging over the dish. Then place a second sheet of phyllo on top of the first in the opposite direction. Repeat this process of laying phyllo in opposing directions so that all of the dish area is covered with the layers of dough. Make sure to generously butter each layer to prevent drying out. Also, re-place a damp towel over the phyllo dough as you are working. The phyllo dough dries out quickly and can become difficult to work with (see tips below).

Once the 6 layers are complete, spoon the ricotta mixture into the dough filled dish. Fold the overhanging phyllo dough over the top of the filling to enclose it completely. Brush completely and generously with melted butter.

Bake in 375 degree oven until the dough is golden brown and filling is set, about 30-35 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack to allow to cool completely. Once cool, sift a light layer of powdered sugar over the top for garnish.

Enjoy Easter Pie...any time of the year!

Slice, serve and enjoy!

A few tips for working with phyllo:

  • Cover unrolled phyllo with a sheet of waxed paper covered by a damp towel to keep it moist. It dries out very quickly.
  • When you remove one sheet at a time, cover the remainder.
  • If you tear a piece of phyllo by mistake (which will probably happen), don’t worry. Just use the smaller pieces to patch together and no one will ever notice once the pie is baked.
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I must admit I’ve never been a big fan of eggs, but somehow deviled eggs are in a category of their own. Being that Easter is just around the corner–I figured now is the time of the egg! Forget the bright-colored boiled eggs that are pretty to look at and fun to make, but lacking in any flavor whatsoever and not really safe to eat once they sit around at room temperature for very long. I have experimented with several herbs, spices, and add-ins for making deviled eggs and this is by far my best deviled egg recipe–the bacon adds an irresistible crunch and saltiness that keeps you coming back for more. I made this recipe using 5 eggs, but it can easily be doubled or even tripled to feed a crowd!

Deviled Easter Eggs

Ingredients

5 hard-boiled eggs (see note below)

1/4 cup crumbled bacon, plus a few larger pieces for garnish

1/2 Tbsp dry mustard powder

2 Tbsp sweet relish

dash of cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp paprika

ground black pepper to taste

4 Tbsp mayonnaise (more or less depending on the consistency you want)

To make:

Slice the boiled eggs in half and remove the yolk,being careful not to tear the whites. Place the yolks in a medium mixing bowl and set aside whites on separate dish for serving. Mix the crumbled bacon, dried mustard powder, black pepper, sweet relish, mayonnaise, cayenne and paprika into the yolks. Place a heaping spoonful back into each egg white half and garnish each egg with a small piece of the reserved crispy cooked bacon. Serve immediately–leftovers (if there are any) can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge to enjoy the next day (or a late night snack) 🙂

Foodie Tip: The key is taste as you go–keep a small spoon on the side to taste the mixture an add any of the seasonings that will balance out the flavors to your liking–this is the key to making any dish have perfect bites, every bite! All of these seasonings are safe to try alone, so feel free to taste each ingredient and really understand the different flavors you are combining to make the yolk mixture.

Cooking Note:

Boiling eggs–place eggs in cold water (covering eggs about 1-2 inches), bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and cover. Let sit for about 12-20 minutes covered. Place eggs in a bowl of cool water–once they are cool enough to handle gently peel the eggs and, voila–hard boiled eggs!

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