A ricotta pie recipe rooted in Italian tradition

For The Baltimore Sun
This recipe for ricotta pie comes straight from a nearly 100-year-old Italian mother.

Gloria Luperini of Timonium was looking for a recipe for ricotta pie that she said is popular in the Italian-American community. She said that she has gathered many different recipes for the pie and has tried at least two that have been unsatisfactory. She was hoping a reader would be able to share a tried and true family recipe.

Dee Luckenbill-Cioffi of Redmond, Ore., shared two recipes for the pie that she said come from her soon-to-be 100-year-old Italian mother-in-law. Luckenbill-Cioffi said that she enjoys both, but her mother-in-law favors what she calls her lemon cheesecake ricotta pie. Of the two recipes Luckenbill-Cioffi sent me, the lemon one that her mother-in-law favors seemed simple and straightforward and a good one to try. The crust is made with zwieback crumbs. Zwieback is a type of crisp, sweetened bread made with eggs and baked twice, and often used as a teething biscuit for young children. Graham cracker or Nilla wafer crumbs could certainly be substituted.

There are nearly as many versions of Italian-style ricotta pie out there as there are Italian grandmothers, but I thought this one was particularly good. It was rich, creamy and just slightly sweet. Perfect for after dinner or for a breakfast treat the next morning — if there are any leftovers.

Requests

Lynn Chamber of Baltimore is in search of a recipe for making salmon mousse in a mold. She had this at a recent dinner party and loved it. The mouse was a beautiful pink color and had a mild salmon flavor and a lovely smooth texture. She thinks there may have even been some olives in it.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, and The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278 or email baltsunrecipefinder@gmail.com. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.

Helen's lemon cheesecake ricotta pie

Makes 12-16 servings

1 cup zwieback crumbs, finely ground

1/4 sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

2 pounds ricotta cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 grated lemon rind

4 extra large eggs, slightly beaten

2/3 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees

To make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine zwieback crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and melted butter. Mix well and press into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

To make the filling: In a mixer, food processor, or by hand, combine the remaining ingredients until smooth and pour into pan. Bake at until firm, about an hour. Turn oven off and allow pie to cool in oven.

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Contribute to Recipe Finder

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, and The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278 or email baltsunrecipefinder@gmail.com. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.

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