Recipes

Pizzagaina–Italian Easter Pie

pizzagaina

 

This delicious ricotta cheese pie holds a special place in my heart! My Grandmother has made Palm Sunday brunch for as long as I can remember, and is going strong at 86! She always made Pizzagaina and Ricotta Pie for this brunch and they were my favorite part! Pizzagaina is also a ricotta pie but a bit more savory with ham. The Ricotta Pie has lemon and orange zest and is a little sweeter. We serve these cold or at room temperature, like a cheese cake. My Grandmother says she has tried many different crusts and each comes out slightly different. You can use your favorite pie crust with the filling or give this one a try.

 

Pizzagaina

Filling:

  • 2 lbs ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 -1/2 lb chopped ham

Preheat oven to 350. Beat eggs, add ricotta, sugar, salt and mix well. Add milk and fold in 1/2 of the ham.

Crust:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 2-4 tbs cold water

Sift together flour and salt. Cut in shortening, egg yolks and cold water. Mix until egg is blended. Roll out dough. Dough will be hard to roll, but take your time. Cut dough in half and roll between two sheets of wax paper. Place one crust into a greased 9×13 pan. Layer the remaining ham on the bottom crust and add filling. Top the filling with the other crust, and brush with beaten egg. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cool. Refrigerate until well chilled. Cut into squares or slices.

 

Ricotta Pie

Filling:

  • 1 lb ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350. Beat eggs and add ricotta, sugar, flour, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat well.

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbs butter softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tbs orange juice or whisky
  • 1 egg separated

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. With electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and 1 egg until fluffy. beat in vanilla, orange zest, and orange juice. Add half of the flour mixture. Beat until well blended. Add remaining flour. Mix with hands until dough leaves side of bowl. Knead until well blended. Set aside and cover.

 

Divide crust in half. Roll between two sheets of waxed paper to an 11 inch circle. Fit crust into a 9 inch pie plate, and brush with egg white. Roll remaining crust to 1/8 inch thickness. With a pastry cutter, cut into 10 strips (1/2 inch wide). Add filling into pie, and place 5 strips across filling.Press firmly to edge of pie plate. Place remaining strips across first set, creating a lattice. Re-roll trimmings and cut out 1/2 inch strips. Place around the edge of pie, and with a fork, press firmly to pie plate. Beat yolk with 1 tbs water and brush over crust. Place a strip of foil around crust edges to prevent over browning. Bake 50 minutes or until top is golden brown and filling is set. Cool. refrigerate until well chilled.

Buon Appetito!

Sara~Fresh foodie Mama~

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