Ricotta pie is a dessert made out of “pasta frolla”, an Italian shortcrust that is sweet and delicate, it crumbles apart when you bite into it. It is filled with a creamy mixture of ricotta, sugar, and eggs, that’s usually flavored with lemon zest. It’s very similar to cheesecake, but at the same time very different, since the flavor in the ricotta pie is more subtle and the texture is very unique. The best thing about this dessert is that it’s incredibly delicious despite the simplicity of the ingredients and the procedure. It is a favorite at home.
Ricotta pie is one of the most traditional desserts in Argentine baking. It is a sweet tradition we got from our Italian roots. In Italy, it is usually made around Easter time and other festivities. In Argentina, it’s popular all year round. It is the ideal complement for tea time. It can be served warm right out of the oven, or cold, especially on warmer days.
How to make Sweet Ricotta Pie?
These are roughly the steps we’re going to follow to make a sweet ricotta pie:
- Make the dough, divide it in two, and chill
- Make the filling by mixing the ingredients together
- Roll the dough and press it into a tart pan and fill it out with the ricotta
- Roll out the rest of the dough and place it on top of the filling
- Bake and let cool down
- Unmold, dust with powdered sugar and serve
Variations and Substitutions
I feel like the beauty of the ricotta pie is in the simplicity of its ingredients. However, some changes could make this pie even more interesting:
Ricotta pie with fruits
Simply place the fruit cut in slices over the filling. They can be fresh fruits such as peaches or apricots, or also dried fruits, such as raisins or dried prunes.
Ricotta pie with chocolate
Chocolate chips are added to the filling just before filling pie.
Ricotta pie with dulce de leche
A thin layer of dulce de leche is placed on the bottom crust and then covered with the filling. This option is also very tasty when we add canned peaches to the filling.
Unmolding and presentation of Sweet Ricotta Pie
There are two ways to unmold and present this pie:
- The conventional way is with the top facing up. When we use this method, what we usually do is draw lines with a fork in a grid shape on the top crust before baking. That pattern will show after baking.
- The other way to unmold this pie is with the bottom side up, which is very nice and neat. This way is simpler since you only need to remove the pie from the pan on the final dish. No need to flip it back. This is the way I like to do it.
To finish the pie, we dust icing sugar on top. I don’t like to add other ingredients to the plate. That’s why I just put some flowers on top for decoration. Other options are to serve it with fresh fruits. And if you used any extra ingredients for the filling, you could also use that as decoration.
Rolling and pressing the dough
For rolling the dough, I recommend chilling until firm, then breaking it up with your hands and kneading lightly to make it softer. This way, the dough will be easy to work with but also cold, which allows it to be rolled without breaking. After that, roll the dough with a rolling pin and press into the bottom and sides of the pan. Cut out the remaining dough with your hands or with a knife.
When to make the filling?
Since we have to wait for the dough to cool down, it’s a good idea to make the filling while we wait. After mixing the filling, set aside until the pie is ready to be filled.
The classic ricotta pie is flavored with lemon zest. This can be substituted for orange or just vanilla extract.
What pan to use for a ricotta pie?
For this pie, I used a 9-inch diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. It is a pie that is easy to unmold so you can use a non-removable bottom pan as well.
How do you know when the ricotta pie is ready?
The filling of this pie cooks quickly. That being said, when you notice the top of the pie is golden brown, it means the filling should be cooked as well. Just keep in mind to follow the instructions for oven temperature and baking time.
Conservation of Sweet Ricotta Pie
As the filling contains cheese, it is important to keep this pie in the fridge. If you prefer to eat the pie at room temperature, remove it from the fridge a couple of hours before serving or enjoy it the same day it was baked. It can be kept in the fridge for up to a week, covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container.
Sweet Ricotta Pie
- 9-inch tart pan
For the dough:
- 200 g Unsalted butter room temperature
- 180 g Granulated sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 2 Eggs room temperature
- 400 g All purpose flour
- 5 g Baking powder 1 tsp
- 3 g Salt ½ tsp
For the filling:
- 500 g Ricotta Cheese
- 200 g Granulated sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 3 Egg yolks
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
For the dough:
- Beat the soft butter together with the sugar and vanilla extract until you get a light and fluffy texture. You can use an electric handheld mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
- Combine the flour with the baking powder and the salt with a hand mixer. Add them to the mixture and mix until roughly combined. Transfer the dough to the counter. Lightly knead and form two buns.
- Cover the buns in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour, until the dough gets stiff.
- Remove one of them from the fridge and break the dough with your hands. Knead lightly to make it easier to roll.
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and press it into the bottom of a tart pan.
Filling and assembly:
- Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl with a hand whisk.
- Pour the filling over the crust. The filling should get almost to the edge of the pan.
- Remove the other dough from the fridge and roll it out as we did with the first one. Place it carefully on top of the filling. Trim the excess with a knife or by pressing your hands against the edge of the mold.
- Prick the surface several times with a fork. Bake at 350°F (180ºC) for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown on top.
- Unmold once cold leaving the bottom side up. Dust with icing sugar to finish. Serve cold or warm with some fresh fruit or edible flowers.