Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ricotta Rice Pie

As you may have noticed, I like to bake. Um, duh! Half of this blog is baking, fool! But for some reason, I have baked nary a pie for this blog. Maybe some Pecan Pie Muffins, some Pumpkin Pie Cake, even some Pumpkin Pie Bars, but never straight up actual pie. One may wonder why this is the case, and one may come to find out that pies intimidate me for some reason.

Ricotta Rice Pie by freshfromthe.com

Not just for some reason, let's be honest. It's the crust. The crust is the intimidating part of pies, right? I mean, making the filling, pretty easy. But having to have frozen butter or shortening and cutting it into flour and rolling it out and just being generally a finicky bastard, the crust turns me off from wanting to make a dang pie.

But I made a dang pie. And it's a most interesting pie at that. Not your typical pumpkin or pecan or apple, but rather a rice pie. A rice pie?! Who knew such things existed! In doing some very quick interwebs research, I guess it's a traditional Italian Easter pie. The more you know!

Ricotta Rice Pie by freshfromthe.com

But it does exist, and it's actually a pretty good pie. The rice isn't a huge component here. It's more of a creamy pie with a slight cheesecake-y feel, but not overly so. It's got a bit of a lemon flair that actually works for me. Most of the time I don't like lemon, but I think it actually made the pie taste better here.

Now you're wondering, though, about the crust, right? I worked around the need for rolling and whatnot by making a no-roll pie crust that you just push in with your fingers. While it certainly is a serviceable crust when you don't want to go through the hassle of making something more complicated, I wouldn't call it the most drop dead amazing crust I've ever had. Still, it was good. And fairly easy, which is always a plus in my book.

If you want to try out a new pie, get down with the rice pie. You'll be surprised you like it as much as you do!

Ricotta Rice Pie by freshfromthe.com

An interesting pie that isn’t super sweet, using ricotta to make an almost custard-like filling.

Ingredients:
    For the Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 Tablespoons frozen butter, grated with a cheese grater
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons cold milk
  • For the Filling:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup cooked white rice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions:
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Add in the grated frozen butter and the cream cheese. With your fingers, work them into the flour mixture, breaking them up until they're well-incorporated. The butter doesn't have to be all evenly sized. It should come together in a sandy kind of texture.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and oil. Add to the flour/butter mixture and, with a fork, combine until all of the flour mixture has been introduced to the liquid. It won't form into a ball, just a bit shaggy. Dump that into your 9-inch pie plate and, with your fingers, press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides. Try to get it even. Depending on the depth of your pie plate, you may have some dough left over.
  3. Place the prepared crust in the freezer and preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat until combined. Beat in the sugar, then stir in the ricotta, lemon juice and rind until well blended. Add in the cream and stir until smooth and creamy. Fold in the rice, then stir in the cinnamon. Pour the filling into the pie crust.
  5. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and the top is browned. This should take 45-60 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before you serve it.
Filling via Sweety Pies Cookbook, Crust via Joy the Baker


In Photos:

Make the crust! Whisk together your dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, salt, sugar.

Mix in your frozen grated butter and your cream cheese with your hands. You'll be like wait, this doesn't look like crust.

That's 'cause it needs some milk and oil still.

Ah-ha! This looks more like dough. Again, it won't be a ball, but that's fine.

Press that into your nine-inch pie pan. I had some left over. This was also a pretty thick crust. I suspect my pie plate was not super deep. Stick that in the fridge while you preheat your oven to 350F and make your filling.

Now for the filling. Beat together three large eggs.

Beat in your sugar.

And pretend I took photos of the intervening steps - the ricotta cheese, the lemon and lemon rind. The cream and rice and cinnamon, floating so serenely on top.

Pour that into your prepared crust. I had some leftover because my crust was super thick, so I made some little ramekins with the extra.

 Bake for 45-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and you have a browned top.

Ricotta Rice Pie by freshfromthe.com
Let that cool completely on a wire rack before you slice into it.

Ricotta Rice Pie by freshfromthe.com
Slice in and enjoy. As you can see, my crust is pretty thick. Yours will probably not be as thick, though I do enjoy the crust as much as the filling, so I didn't mind.

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