The other day was deemed #PieDay on Twitter. I had recently made a Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pie and must say that was quite a pie day too! But for me? Any day is pie day! When I was growing up, I had both of my grandmothers close by. It’s funny even now to recall that one was the Cake Grandma and one was the Pie Grandma. The Cake Grandma, my mom’s mother, Grandmother Vaden, was tall like me and very formidable. She lived with us for awhile when my parents were divorced and she quite literally scared the you know what out of me for the most part. Story had it that she would sit on my mother when she was a girl to punish her. I did not want that happening to me! I like cakes and all but wonder if that figured into the equation?
Pie Grandma was my Grandma Bathe, my Dad’s mom and I’ve mentioned before how much I adored her…and she me. We were quite the pair. Me so tall and her so short you would have been hard pressed to tell by looking that we were related but somehow that little thing gave birth to my 13 pound father, who grew to be 6’5″ tall and the tall legacy had begun. I helped her make pies long before I was any real help in the kitchen and one of my most treasured possessions is her rolling pin which I think by all guesstimates much be close to 100 years old.
So I made a pie on #pieday because I had fresh cherries I needed to use AND because I just LOVE them…regular crusts, graham cracker crust, cookie crusts, you name it and I’ll most likely love it. Except mincemeat, I hold that in about the same esteem as green pepper which as you may know…is not much esteem at all!
I’ve been wanting to make a Pizza Dolce (sweet pizza) but the recipe I love requires overnight resting for the dough. So, when I saw my friend Domenica make a beautiful Blueberry Crostata Pie with enough dough for a top and bottom crust I decided to try that for the 12″ crust I needed. I loved it; reminded me very much of a shortbread cookie; just a perfectly fabulous crust. This might have created something of an identity crisis for this dessert so I’ve decided to combine the names; hence the pizza dolce crostata business!
I used the entire recipe for the dough to create a bottom crust. You can use a pizza stone or a baking sheet. The dough is rolled flat and then the outside edge is folded in and crimped; making sure it’s high enough to contain the filling ingredients; more of an outside dam I guess! In lieu of Domenica’s blueberry jam and fresh blueberry filling, I then followed the rest of my own recipe which called for a ricotta filling and fresh sweet cherries; I also made a Cherry Port sauce that I thought (hoped) would bring just a bit more juiciness to the end result. Isn’t hope an inherent part of baking? Actually it’s true of most everything I create that pulls together different techniques, different recipes, different ingredients…always hoping and praying a bit that the end result will match the deliciousness envisioned in my head. So this is a combining of recipes that I ‘hope’ you love as much as I did!
Fabulous and rustic cherry pie with ricotta cheese.
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup (1/2 pound) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large whole egg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 cups / 1 pound ricotta
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 Tbs Limoncello (I've also used Orange Liqueur or Amaretto)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 pound fresh cherries, pitted
- 1 cup cherries, pitted
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 port wine
- 1/2 sugar
- Put the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly to combine the ingredients. Scatter the butter around the bowl and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the whole egg and egg yolks and process until the mixture is just beginning to clump together in the work bowl.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it together into a thick disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until well chilled.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger portion into an 12-13-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick or slightly thicker. Carefully wrap the dough around the rolling pin put it into a round pizza dish or on a baking sheet. Gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan or if using a baking sheet, make an identifiable rim on the outside edge of the dough. Put the pan in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Using a hand mixer or whisk, beat the ricotta until smooth and creamy. Whisk in the eggs, the sugar, the vanilla, the liqueur and the ground cinnamon.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and carefully pour and spread the Ricotta Filling onto the dough not more than about an inch from the edges (leaving a border).
- Place the pitted cherries all over the Filling.
- Bake until the dough is puffed and golden brown and the Ricotta Filling is puffed and set in the center, about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the thickness of the dough and your oven. Keep an eye on it; mine was perfect at about 40 minutes when golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Top with some of the Port/Cherry sauce and serve warm or at room temperature.
- Combine all ingredients together and simmer until sauce is thickened and coats the back of a spoon; approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Cool until thickened.
- Refrigerate leftovers.