Ricotta pie is a creamy and dreamy dessert of lightly sweetened lemon ricotta filling baked in an Italian shortcrust pastry. It's a simple dessert that is commonly served for Easter celebrations but can easily be enjoyed anytime of the year.
This lovely dessert is simple and timeless. For the creamiest results, we like to make this recipe with our homemade ricotta cheese recipe (but any high-quality ricotta will be delicious).
Why This Pie is The One
- Perfect texture - Unlike some recipes that produce dry and grainy ricotta filling - this pie is creamy, smooth and rich.
- Not too sweet - As intended this pie lets the ricotta shine with a lightly sweetened filling, hint of lemon and a buttery, tender crust.
- No soggy bottoms! - Blind baking the pasta frolla allows for a fully cooked pie crust that is lightly golden throughout.
- Simple, simple simple! - The best part of this pie is that it is incredibly simple and, when using a food processor, both the crust and filling come together in moments.
This easy ricotta pie comes together with just a few ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Ricotta Cheese - Ricotta is the star of this dish so I really recommend using the highest quality you can find (or make your own with this easy, creamy recipe). Use full-fat whole milk ricotta and make sure that it is well drained of any excess liquid.
- Sour Cream - Admittedly, sour cream is not a traditional ingredient in ricotta pie. However, I have found that the additional fat from sour cream helps to create an irresistibly creamy texture and a slightly tangy flavor that tastes delicious.
- Flour - I developed this recipe with all-purpose flour because that is what I usually have at home. I also tested it with cake flour - which works great, too. If using cake flour, omit the cornstarch in the pasta frolla portion of this recipe.
- Cornstarch - Cornstarch is key to creating a tender crumb in the crust AND a thick and creamy texture in the ricotta custard - don’t skip it!
- Eggs & Yolks - You will need 1 whole egg for the crust and two yolks for the filling. Save those extra whites for breakfast or to make the torched meringue on our Purple Sweet Potato Pie!
- Lemon Zest - The citrusy oils from the zest of one lemon delicately flavor the ricotta and make for a lovely lemony flavor.
How To Make Pasta Frolla (Italian Shortcrust Pastry)
This Italian pie crust is buttery, tender and delicious. It has a texture reminiscent of a crumbly shortbread cookie. It comes together in just a couple of minutes in a food processor - but can also be done by hand with a pastry cutter. I recommend baking this pie dough in a 9 inch tart pan (1 inch deep) with a removable bottom.
For more information and ideas - see the full Pasta Frolla Pastry post.
1. Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt together. Add to the food processor with sugar.
2. Add the cold, cubed butter and pulse 10 - 20 times. You want to break the butter up into fine, sandy crumbles without any larger pieces. (Alternatively, you can do this in a bowl with a pastry cutter.)
3. Add in the whisked egg and vanilla and process until combined and dough begins to hydrate and holds together when squeezed.
4. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Use your hands and a bench scraper to pull the dough together. Knead the pastry once or twice but avoid overworking. Shape the dough into a disk and chill for 30 minutes (or up to two days).
5. Pasta frolla is a soft, supple dough. I recommend rolling the dough on a sheet of parchment paper to make it easy to transfer into the tart pan. Roll the dough into a large circle, about 11" inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick.
6. Use the parchment to transfer the dough into your pie plate. Remove the parchment and gently press the dough into the corners and around the edges of the tart pan. If the dough tears, just patch it up - it’s very forgiving, (and if the pastry becomes too warm - pop it in the fridge for a few minutes until it is easier to manipulate).
7. Use a rolling pin to roll over the top of the tart pan and cut off any excess dough. Use a fork to poke a few holes in the base of the crust.
8. Chill the fluted pastry crust for at least 30 minutes until fully chilled and firm.
In the meantime, make the ricotta filling and allow the filling to come to room temperature while the crust is baking and cooling.
I tested this recipe with and without blind baking the crust. Both ways worked okay but ultimately the crust had better texture with blind baking.
1. While the shaped crust is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°. Line the pie crust with crumpled parchment paper (or a large coffee filter). Fill with pie weights (we use dried rice and beans).
2. Bake the crust for 20 minutes. Then, carefully remove the pie weights and lining. Continue baking for 5 more minutes. (In the meantime, make your ricotta filling and allow it to come to room temperature.)
3. Allow the pie crust to cool completely before adding the filling. While cooling the crust, lower the oven temperature to 300° Fahrenheit.
Ricotta Pie Filling & Baking
Make the filling in the same food processor (or in a large bowl with a whisk). You don’t need to clean the food processor in between - but make sure you knock out any extra flour or crumbles of pastry.
1. Add all of the ingredients (ricotta, egg yolks, sugar, salt, corn starch and lemon zest) to the food processor. Process on high speed for 1 minute or until the ricotta curds have been whipped perfectly smooth and are cohesive with the other ingredients.
I like to check that the mixture feels smooth by rubbing a little batter between two fingers. If it still feels gritty, process a bit longer.
2. Pour the room temperature ricotta filling into the blind baked pasta frolla crust. Tap the pie plate on a towel lined countertop a few times, to allow the ricotta to settle into the crust and pop any air bubbles in the filling.
3. Bake at 300° F for 40 minutes or until the ricotta filling is lightly set around the edges but has a slight wobble in the center. The top of the pie should not have any browning.
4. Allow the pie to cool completely at room-temperature. Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar, if desired.
Pro Tips for Easy Easter Pie
- Drain the ricotta, if necessary. This filling needs to be rich and creamy. If the ricotta cheese appears at all wet, it needs to be drained. Set the ricotta over a jar in some cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer for 20, or more, minutes until drained of any excess moisture.
- Avoid overworking the pasta frolla dough! This crust should be light and tender. Pull the crust together until it is cohesive but avoid kneading or over-mixing.
- Cold crust, room-temperature filling! This is important! The crust needs to be baked from cold so it holds its’ shape while baking. Then cool the crust completely to avoid scrambling the eggs in your filling. The ricotta filling should be room temperature to ensure gentle, even baking.
- Tap that pie plate! After whipping the ricotta filling, it will inevitabley have some air bubbles trapped inside. Give the pie plate a few firm taps on the counter to release the excess air and avoid tunneling in the baked filling.
- Don’t over bake!! Like all custard pies, it can be a little tricky to know when this pie is done. The edges of the ricotta should be gently set and matte - but not browned. The center of the pie should have a gentle wobble when jostled.
- Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature. Allow this pie to cool completely before slicing. I enjoy it best when room-temperature or just slightly chilled.
Serving & Storing
Ricotta pie is best served at room-temperature or slightly chilled. Do not slice while still warm. In fact, this pie is easiest to slice when chilled from the fridge.
If making this pie ahead of time I like to let it chill. Then I slice and allow the slices to temper for about an hour, or so. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.
This pie is lovely on its own but I like to serve it alongside a few fresh berries. If serving for Easter, a few edible flowers make for a pretty Springtime decoration.
Picture Perfect Slices
The key to perfect slices of pie is to use a sharp HOT knife. Heat a chef's knife under running hot water. Then, use a clean towel to dry the knife and make a slice. Try to cut straight down and avoid dragging the knife or using a sawing motion. Wipe the knife clean, reheat and dry between each cut.
Of course, this is purely for aesthetic reasons... jagged slices of pie are just as delicious! 🙂
Saving for Later
Ricotta pie can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
I do not recommend freezing ricotta pie as it causes a grainy, unpleasant texture. Past frolla, however, can be made ahead of time and frozen (twice wrapped) for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator for a day or two before baking.
If you make this recipe, please leave us a star rating below!
Ricotta Pie (Sweet Italian Easter Pie)
- Food Processor with Blade Attachment
- 9 inch Tart Pan with a Removable Bottom (1 inch deep)
Pasta Frolla (Italian Shortcrust Pastry)
- 1 ½ Cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine kosher salt*
- ¼ Cup granulated sugar
- ½ Cup unsalted butter cold, cubed
- 1 large whole egg whisked
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ricotta Pie Filling
- 1 pound (a.) whole milk ricotta drained of excess moisture, if necessary
- ⅓ Cup full-fat sour cream
- 2 large egg yolks
- 6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon fine kosher salt*
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar optional garnish
Pasta Frolla (Italian Shortcrust Pastry)
- Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt together. Add flour mixture and sugar to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process briefly to combine.
- Add cold cubed butter to the food processor. Pulse about 20 - 30 times until the butter is finely integrated and the mixture resembles sand.
- Add the whisked egg and vanilla extract. Process 15 - 30 seconds until the dough is hydrated and holds together when squeezed.
- Turn the dough onto a clean work surface and use your hands and a bench scraper to form a cohesive dough. Do not over work. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days before baking.
- Blind Baking: Arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit (176° celsius).
- On a sheet of parchment paper, roll the dough into a large circle about ¼ inch (6 millimeters) thick. Use the parchment paper to help transfer the dough into a 9 inch tart shell with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the edges of the tart. If torn, patch the dough as necessary, it is very forgiving. Dock the base of the dough by using a fork to poke a few holes. Chill the shaped pie dough in the fridge or freezer until fully chilled and firm.
- Line the crust with crumpled parchment (or a large coffee filter). Fill with pie weights (I use dried rice and beans). Bake the weighted crust for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and parchment from the pie shell and continue baking for 5 more minutes. Allow the crust to cool completely before filling. In the meantime, prepare the ricotta filling.
Ricotta Pie Filling
- Lower the oven temperature to 300° Fahrenheit (150° celsius).
- In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment combine ricotta, sour cream, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, salt and lemon zest. Process on high speed for 1 minute until mixture is completely smooth and sugar is dissolved. Allow the ricotta mixture to come to room temperature while baking and chilling the pasta frolla crust.
- Once the pasta frolla crust is fully cooled, add the ricotta filling. Tap the pie on the countertop to knock any air bubbles from the filling.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the outer edges of the filling are matte and set but the center is still wobbly. Cool at room temperature. Serve at room temperature or chilled from the refrigerator. Just before serving dust with powdered sugar, as desired. Enjoy!
*Unless otherwise noted, foodworthfeed recipes are developed using Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt. If using iodized or table salt, reduce quantities by about half.
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