Oh, my! It’s almost September!
I hope it’s been a good summer for you.
It seems that we’re going to be a bit more normal this year.
According to the commercials the kids are really looking forward to seeing their classmates in person instead of on a screen.
Hope everything goes well and that everyone stays safe and well.
I took a peak at the ‘Top Recipes’ lists on the right side of this blog.
Carmela Soprano's Ricotta - Pineapple Pie (Cheesecake) is currently the top recipe for both last month and last week.
It was the ricotta pie that Carmela Soprano took to Joan O'Connell in hopes that she would write Meadow a recommendation into Georgetown.
Maybe it did the job.
I posted that recipe in February, 2013, and it sure has proven to be a winner.
But, I never posted Ma’s recipe for Ricotta Pie.
In my opinion Ma’s recipe makes a better pie.
Ma’s pie is lighter than cheesecake, more like a thick custard, and really good.
Ma usually cooked family-sized recipes.
There were times when she was cooking for seven people, so she wanted to get as much as she could for the time she had put into preparing her recipes.
Ma’s recipe for Ricotta Pie will give you two pies.
Don’t worry… it will get eaten long before it goes bad.
Sometimes we ate it for breakfast.
Yes, it’s just that nutritious… and good.
Cheesecake has had a long and interesting history.
The first cheesecake recipe was made around 230 A.D. by Athenaeus, a Greek writer.
Since then, cheesecake in one form or another has become popular around the world.
The New York cheesecake is a simple mix of cream cheese, cream, eggs and sugar, with or without a sour cream topping, while the Japanese cheesecake is a cross between a sponge cake and a souffle, and tastes more eggy than creamy.
A German cheesecake has a flour crust and quark, a dairy product made from sour milk, while the English make their cheesecakes with a crushed cookie crust and topped with a berry compote or lemon curd.
Every country has created its own special cheesecake… including the Maltese.
If you’re in a rush you can use a pre-made crust.
Ricotta is a soft bland cheese.
The texture is like a very well blended, smooth cottage cheese.
Ricotta is easier to work with than cream cheese which, if not fully softened to room temperature before blending, will result in a crumbly instead of a smooth cheesecake.
If you’d like you can add about 1/4 Cup mini-chocolate chips or 1 Tablespoon lemon zest per pie - more or less - to the filling before baking.
The pies do firm up in the refrigerator after they have cooled.
If you want a custard with more heft you can add 1/2 Cup rice to the filling before baking.
It is very traditional and will be more like a rice pudding, which is more filling.
Like I said, Ma wanted to get full value for the time she put into her baking.
The pies can also be topped with fresh fruit or canned pie filling, either blueberry or cherry or apple.
Or you can make the pineapple topping Carmela made for her Ricotta - Pineapple Pie.
This recipe is enough to top one pie:
Saving 1/2 Cup of the syrup, drain well
1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple in syrup
In a medium saucepan combine
1/4 Cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 Cup reserved pineapple syrup
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Cook, stirring until thickened, about 1 minute.
the drained pineapple
Remove from heat and let cool.
Spread the pineapple mixture over the pie.
Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving.
Pat-in Pie Crust
Place in each of two 9-inch pie pan
1 1/2 Cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
Place in a measuring cup
1/2 cup oil
3 tablespoons cold milk
Beat together until creamy.
Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture in one pan and blend well.
Spread the mixture in the pan and pat in to line the pan.
Make another mixture of oil and milk and add to the flour mixture in the second pan.
Blend well, spread the mixture in the pan and pat in to line the pan.
Preheat the oven to 325º F
Place in a large bowl
2 pounds ricotta cheese
6 large eggs
Stir together until smooth.
1 1/4 Cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup heavy cream
1 Cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pour the ricotta filling evenly into both pie pans.
Cover the edges of crust all the way around with foil.
Place pies in the oven.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Take the pies from the oven and remove the foil.
Bake an additional 45 minutes, until the crust is golden and a sharp knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Cool completely, then refrigerate 2 hours before serving.
Garnish with whipped cream and lemon zest if desired (or see hints).