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Fresh Ricotta Holiday Pie

March 19, 2010

It doesn’t matter if the holiday is Easter or Christmas when you’ve got fresh ricotta available. This pie was designed as a Christmas Speciality while I was working as the pastry chef for Pour La France in Aspen and Boulder. Later in New Mexico, it made the desert tray at La Posada de Santa Fe.

Personally, I don’t wait for the holidays. This pie is  in my home repertoire. I make it with candied stem ginger, unsweetened Dagoba chocolate nibs, dried cranberries and toasted pinon nuts.

If you can have everything ready, fill the pie and slide it into the oven a 1⁄2 hour before dinner, it is best about 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven. It doesn’t need it, but I sometimes serve it with two sauces: freshly made caramel and raspberry sauces. This pie keeps well and can be made in advance and served cold but it loses its airy texture and crisp crust.


1 1⁄2 c. flour 1⁄4 c brown sugar
6 Tbl ice water
4 Tbl marsala (sweet or dy)
2 egg yolks
dash freshly grated nutmeg

Mix flour and brown sugar in food processor. Sprinkle butter over and pulse until it resembles a fine meal. Mix together ice water, marsala, egg yolks and nutmeg. Turn on food processor and pour in slowly until the dough just starts to form.

Dump the dough out of the processor and form into a ball. Wrap with plastic and chill at least two hours. The longer it chills, the easier it is to roll out. Letting it chill overnight is best.

Preheat oven to 350.

Filling: 5 c. fresh ricotta cheese
3⁄4 c. honey
1 Tbl flour
1⁄2 tsp salt
3 tsp vanilla
1 tsp very finely grated orange rind
1 tsp very finely grated lemon rind
4 egg yolks
juice of 1 lemon
1⁄2 c. golden raisins(soft ones)
1⁄2 c. tasted slivered almonds
Combine filling ingredients and taste. Add more honey if you want it sweeter.

Roll out the dough and line a buttered 9” pie pan. Spread filling evenly in the pie shell.

Bake until filling is slightly puffed and crust is golden, about 1 1⁄4 hours.

Variations: Instead of the raisins, grated lemon and orange zest, and lemon juice: Grated or chopped chocolate, 1 tsp almond extract and 4 Tbl Frangelico liqueur chopped dried cranberries, chopped toasted hazelnuts, orange zest and orange juice.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 20, 2010 1:31 am

    My, O, My. You do know how to tantalize. No doubt, you do know how. Nice touch to say that you don’t wait for the holidays when it comes to preparing good holiday dishes. Karen, you are good.

  2. March 20, 2010 1:32 am

    Very nice photograph. Really nice. Must have been along Canyon Road?

    • March 20, 2010 4:11 pm

      Yes, it’s Canyon Road. I’m searching for some really old shots of The Three Cities of Spain restaurant, the old El Farol and the pre-gallery photos. They are early pretentious B&W with a borrowed Kodak but I should be able to scan them and pull something out of them.

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