Rice and ricotta…an Italian dynamic duo presented to you in the shape of a pie! Come take a look at this family recipe for Rice Ricotta Easter Pie.
All cultures have traditions which celebrate certain holidays with food. Italian culture exemplifies this love affair with food, so much so that I sometimes get the impression that as a culture we are either preparing food, eating food or talking about what food we are going to make…continuously. But can I tell you a secret? I love it! Take for example, Easter. There are so many foods traditionally made during this period, like this Rice Ricotta Easter Pie or Torta di Riso.
Do not be discouraged that this recipe has three parts to it. Ingredients are easy to assemble and can be started simultaneously, once you organize yourself.
Part 1:THE RICE
You have to anticipate that anything that has arborio rice in it has just got to be good. (Just like this recipe for creamy rice pudding). The rice is flavored with lemon peel and vanilla and simmered in milk. You can always add two teaspoons of vanilla extract if you do not have the vanilla bean…personally, though, I find that all the little seeds add to the visual effect, and, well, the taste of a real vanilla bean is just sublime.
The milk gets absorbed by the rice in about 15-20 minutes. Stir constantly at the end of the simmering process, otherwise you will get one sticky mess. Notice the little vanilla seeds…AMAZING! Let the mixture cool before adding to the rest of the filling.
Part 2: THE CRUST
The first time I made this recipe I was so confused by this crust. Usually pies will call for a short pastry dough which needs to be rolled out, a pasta frolla. But much to my surprise, this mixture works. I combine the ingredients by hand (with a whisk). It forms a nice bottom crust for our rice ricotta Easter pie once it is cooked. Try spreading it out as best as you can in your pie plate, or whatever container you are using. As the rice is slowly cooking, you can get started on this crust.
Part 3: THE FILLING
At this point, you should have completed the crust; the rice should almost be cooling off; and you are ready to start whipping some eggs. This part of the recipe is very straightforward. I use my stand mixer to combine the ingredients and add the cooled rice by hand. The mixture will be a little liquidy. If you are interested, come and see how ridiculously easy it is to make your own ricotta…and it’s so much better too!
Once it has baked and cooled down, it only needs a nice sprinkle of icing sugar and you’re done. The pie can be eaten warm or cold. My personal preference is cold – the flavors are a bit more intense.
Origins of the Recipe for Rice Ricotta Easter Pie:
Well, it’s back to my Mom’s Italian background for this recipe. Originating from Benevento, in the Campania region of Italy, this variation of a Rice Ricotta Easter Pie would often be part of the endless food line-up for the big traditional Easter meal. As you know, Italian cooking is extremely regional and as a result, there are endless variations of recipes . Of course, it is only natural that one’s personal preference will almost always gravitate toward childhood flavors. At least that’s been my reality.
This Rice Ricotta Easter Pie was one of those recipes that was extremely appreciated by both family and friends. So much so that my mom would get requests to make it throughout the year. Whenever I make this pie, so many wonderful memories of my mom come alive again, and that’s the greatest gift of all.
I have so many awesome Easter recipes I am planning on sharing with all of you this week. Stay tuned! It’s going to be a busy one!!!
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup arborio rice
- pinch salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split/seeds scraped
- 2-3 strips of lemon peel (organic)
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 6 eggs (room temperature)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 pound or 16 ounces (about 450 grams) container ricotta
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 -2½ cups cooked arborio rice
- Confectioners' sugar for dusting
- Combine milk and rice in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add salt, vanilla bean and lemon peel. Stir.
- Once milk begins to simmer, reduce heat to medium low and stir occasionally until rice is cooked and the milk is absorbed. (about 20 minutes).
- Remove lemon peel and vanilla bean.
- Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉/175℃. Position rack to middle.
- Spray 10-inch pie plate with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- Beat eggs with hand held beater or whisk.
- Add sugar, oil, lemon zest and whisk until frothy and light.
- Sift flour and baking powder together and add to egg mixture.
- Whisk together.
- Spread mixture at the bottom of pie plate.
- Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl (of stand mixer), with whisk attachment, beat the eggs until light and frothy.
- Whisk in the sugar. Beat for 1-2 minutes.
- Add ricotta, zests and cinnamon. Whisk until incorporated (about 1 minute).
- With a mixing spoon, gently combine the rice mixture.
- Pour into pie plate (over unbaked crust).
- Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes until golden or top bounces back when lightly touched.
- Serve warm or refrigerate.
- Dust with icing sugar before serving.
Thanks for dropping by.
Ciao for now!