My Sister Nicky's Ricotta PieUser Submitted Recipe
A great Italian dessert
For the crust:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 pound butter, room temperature
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon lemon peel, chopped fine
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2-3 teaspoons ice water as needed
For the filling:
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 1/2 pound WHOLE MILK ricotta cheese
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and finely ground in food processor
To prepare the crust: Mound flour on work surface. Make a well in the center and combine butter, sugar, egg yolk, and lemon peel in the well. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Gradually mix flour into butter mixture, blending until coarse meal forms. Knead adding ice water if necessary until just smooth. Flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, about an our.
Grease and lightly flour 10 inch tart pan with removable bottom. Roll dough out to about 12 inches and carefully transfer to prepared pan. You can slide the removable bottom of the pan under the rolled out dough and then lift and place it in the pan's rim.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Refrigerate crust for 15 minutes. Cut a circle of parchment or foil to cover crust and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until crust is set, about 15 minutes. Remove beans and parchment. Bake crust until golden brown, about 25 minutes more. Transfer to rack and cool. Maintain oven temperature. (Crust can also be prepared 1 day ahead--just cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.)
To prepare the filling: Beat eggs and mix vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar in a small bowl. Add egg mixture to ricotta in a medium bowl and mist thoroughly until well blended and relatively smooth. Pour filling into prebaked crust. Bake in the 325 degree oven for about 45 minutes (line exposed crust edge with foil if it seems to be browning too much.) During the last 10 minutes, sprinkle toasted almonds on top (if using). Cool on wire rack, remove outer rim from tart pan and serve.
Cooks note: there are lots of ingredients you can add to the finished tart as with any cheesecake: raspberries or strawberries around the edge, half pecans instead of almonds, pitted cherries in season, and so on.