Italian Easter Rice Pie

Last year I posted our family’s recipe for Italian Easter wheat pie. This year I want to share an Italian-American version made using rice in place of wheat. My own spin is the addition of maraschino cherries. As the pie bakes the filling forms distinct layers that make it interesting and delicious. The top layer is a delicate custard with subtle orange and cinnamon overtones. The second layer is maraschino cherries with chewy flavorful rice. The recipe for the filling makes a bit more than you need for a 9-inch pie crust. Pour the remaining extra filling into individual ramekins and bake ricotta cherry puddings. Make this pie the day before you intend to serve it. Chilling overnight enhances the flavors.

Italian Easter Rice Pie
Sweet Pie Crust (Pasta Frolla)
1-2/3 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
zest of half a medium lemon
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a food processor combine flour, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Pulse until combined. Add butter and pulse to form pea size crumbs. Combine egg and vanilla to blend. Then add to flour mixture and pulse until it just begins to come together. Pour dough out onto the counter and bring together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour or longer. Roll out and fit into a 9-inch pie plate. There will be extra dough. You can use it to make a few cut-out cookies.

Ricotta and Rice Filling
1 c. fresh ricotta cheese
2/3 c. vanilla granulated sugar
zest of 1/2 a large orange
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 c. chopped maraschino cherries
1 Tbsp. maraschino cherry juice
3 large eggs
1 c. cooked long grain Jasmine rice
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine ricotta, sugar, orange zest, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Add chopped cherries, and maraschino cherry juice. Mix. Add eggs and mix well. Add rice, milk and cream. Mix gently. Pour filling into pie crust being careful not to overfill it. Pour extra filling into ramekins and bake alongside pie. Bake pie for 45-55 minutes until filling is set in the middle. If crust begins to get dark, wrap foil around the edges. Cool on rack. Chill overnight. Serves 8.


This entry was posted in Custards, Desserts, Easter, Grains, Pies. Bookmark the permalink.

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