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Maria Iapachino's Ricotta Pie

This rich sheep's-milk ricotta pie was served to my husband and me by my friend Maria Iapichino, whose home in Cefalu on the northern coast of Sicily overlooks the sea. Shepherds and their flocks are all you see for miles in the interior of Sicily. Sheep's-milk ricotta cheese, a by-product of Pecorino cheese, is much stronger in flavor than the cow's-milk ricotta found in our supermarkets. I used skim-milk ricotta in the recipe with excellent results. Serves 6



3 cups skim-milk ricotta cheese, well drained 

1/2 cup sugar 

1 tablespoon vanilla 

One 3 1/2 ounce bar milk chocolate, chopped 

1 tablespoon grated orange zest


3 cups (12 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1stick) unsalted butter; cut into pieces

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons ice water

1 egg, beaten



Preheat the oven to 375ºF. In a bowl, combine all the filling ingredients. Cover and refrigerate while you make the crust.

In a bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Add the butter and, with a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the eggs and ice water and mix with your hands until a ball of dough is formed. Wrap the dough in wax paper and chill for 10 to 15 minutes.

Divide the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out one piece of dough to a 12-inch round. Fit it into a 9-inch pie dish. Scoop the filling into the crust.

Roll out the second piece of dough to an 11-inch round and place it on top of the filling. Trim the excess dough and pinch the edges to seal them. With a skewer, make tiny holes all over the crust. Brush the top crust with the beaten egg.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned. Let the pie cool completely before cutting into wedges.

This recipe is from CELEBRATIONS ITALIAN STYLE by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1995.

As seen in Program 2502


  1. gloria saldiveri's avatar

    gloria saldiveri

    can this pie be frozen
  2. Bryan Lulek's avatar

    Bryan Lulek

    This recipe sounds fantastic. I was wondering though, what do you do with the chocolate? Do you just mix the filling ingredients together and fill the pie?
    Thank you for these recipes. I just discovered your website. I will be making several of them.
    Also, do you have some more health conscious recipes?
    Bryan Lulek

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