Crostata di ricotta

The Crostata di ricotta Recipe Ricotta is mixed with candied peel and almonds, and baked in a sweet lemon pastry crust in this Italian classic. The fresher the cheese, the better.

Chilling time:
45–60 mins
Special equipment
9–10in (23–25cm) springform pan

12 tbsp unsalted butter
1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1⁄4 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1 large egg, for glazing

For the filling:
2 3⁄4lb (1.25kg) ricotta cheese
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 tbsp chopped candied orange peel
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1⁄3 cup golden raisins
1⁄4 cup sliced almonds
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature

1 Pound the butter between 2 sheets of parchment paper with a rolling pin, to soften. Sift the flour on to a work surface and make a large well in the center.

2 Put the lemon zest, sugar, butter, egg yolks, and salt into the well. Using your fingertips, work together the ingredients until well mixed. Gradually draw in the flour, and press the dough into a ball.

3 Lightly flour the work surface, then knead the dough for 1-2 minutes until very smooth. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes. Grease the pan.

4 Lightly flour the work surface and roll out 3⁄4 of the dough to make a 14-15in (35–37cm) round. Roll up the dough around the rolling pin, then drape it over the pan.

5 Press it well into the bottom of the pan, and gently up the side. Trim the excess dough. Chill the shell, together with the remaining dough and trimmings, for 15 minutes.

6 Place the ricotta in a large bowl and beat in the sugar, flour, and half the salt.

7 Add the orange zest, candied peel, vanilla, golden raisins, almonds, and egg yolks. Beat the mixture together thoroughly to combine.

8 Spoon the filling into the chilled pastry shell. Tap the pan on the work surface to eliminate any air pockets. Smooth the top of the filling, using the back of a wooden spoon.

9 Press any dough trimmings into the remaining dough and roll it into a 10in (25cm) round on a floured surface.

10 Cut it into strips 1⁄2in (1cm) wide and use to lattice the top of the pie. Trim off the overhanging ends of dough, so that the pastry strips are even with the edge of the shell.

11 Lightly beat the whole egg with the remaining salt. Glaze the ends of the strips, then seal to the edge.

12 Brush the lattice with the glaze and chill until firm, 15–30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and put a baking sheet near the bottom of the oven.

13 Bake on the heated baking sheet until the top is firm and golden brown, 1–1¼ hours. Let cool in its pan until just warm, then remove the sides of the pan and let cool completely. Transfer to a large serving plate, cut into wedges, and serve.

The cheesecake can be made up to 1 day ahead and kept refrigerated, though the texture will not be as light.

This traditional Italian version of the cheesecake uses ricotta for a very light texture and taste. The ricotta must be fresh and of the very best quality for perfect results, so buy it from an Italian delicatessen.

Crostata di ricotta Recipe
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