Grandma’s Sicilian Ricotta Pastry
When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to make this simple ricotta pastry with a sweet crust and sweet filling which we called Grandma’s Sicilian Ricotta Pastry. She always made them 8 inches round. Now when I think about how many people used to be at grandma’s on Sunday, I can’t even imagine how many of them she had to make so everybody could have some. We all loved these and I still do!
It was difficult to reproduce this recipe. My mother and I tried to make it but it wasn’t until now, with the help of one of my aunts, that I figured out how to make it.
When I made this on May 8, 2015 I doubled the recipe for the first time and made an 11 inch pastry.
It brought me to an interesting realization when I looked at it after it was baked and I cut a piece. The pastry dough was thicker than the layer of the ricotta filling. I talked about “Cucina Povera,” or “Poor Kitchen” in a prior blog. As I looked at it today, I realized that the pastry crust is made of very inexpensive ingredients. When combined, they make a pastry crust that is sweet and delicious.
The filling has minimal ricotta in it, which is the most expensive ingredient in this recipe, and the other ingredients in the filling are inexpensive.
This recipe makes a delicious pastry which can truly be called a recipe that comes from a “Cucina Povera.” It does not cost a lot to make this wonderful Sicilian pastry. It was really important to be able to feed a large family inexpensively during the “Great Depression.”
Grandma’s Sicilian Ricotta Pastry Recipe
Makes 1 8” pastry, 4 servings
Set oven at 375 degrees
Bake 15 minutes
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 T. + 2 tsp. sugar
1 T. butter
Fruit juice or orange juice
½ c. ricotta cheese
1 T. sugar
Dash of cinnamon
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and butter. Mix until the butter is incorporated into the flour mixture.
Put in the egg and mix. It will be dry and lumpy. Add orange juice a tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough is a soft ball but not sticky. If you put in too much juice, add a little flour so you can handle the dough. Form it into a smooth ball.
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Put the ball of dough in the middle of the cookie sheet and press the dough into an 8 inch round pastry crust with a thick edge. Fold the thick edge dough inward to make a higher edge; about ¾ inch tall so the filling with stay in it. Press it as in a fluted edge of a pie crust.
Put all of the filling ingredients in a 2 cup measuring cup. Stir it until it is smooth and well blended. Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top evenly. Bake for 12 minutes and then check to see if it is done. The ricotta should look firm and dry and the crust light golden brown. When you lightly touch the top with your fingertip, the ricotta filling should not come off onto your finger.
Cool for about 15 minutes. This recipe makes about 4 servings. Cover and refrigerate any leftover pastry.
To double this recipe:
Makes 1 11” pastry, 8 servings
Set oven to 375 degrees
Bake 20 minutes
Double all ingredients for the pastry crust and double the ingredients for the ricotta filling. Follow the directions for the 8 inch pastry but press the crust into an 11 inch round pastry crust.