For soft pie crust dough (Pasta Frolla)
1/4 package [1/4 pound] of Crisco (lard), melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon Magic baking powder
Flour as much as is needed (about 3 cups)
1/2 kilo long-grain Italian rice
A large pot of boiling water to cook rice
The rind of 1/2 lemon to add to water for boiling rice
2 cups milk (for cooking half-boiled rice)
1 (475 grams) container of ricotta, drained
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
Crisco (lard) for greasing pie dishes
2 eggs, beaten
*Makes three 9-inch pies cooked in aluminum containers, or 1 or 2 large pies depending on the size of the pan
Using the pastry dough ingredients make a soft dough (The dough should be soft, almost as soft as a cavetelli dough).
Shape the dough into a ball.
Divide the dough into 2 parts, one larger than the other.
Wrap the dough balls in plastic wrap.
Let the dough rest while making the filling.
To cook the rice boil a pot of water.
Add rice and 3 strips of lemon peel to the pot of boiling water.
When the rice is half cooked, drain the rice. Throw out the water. Remove the lemon peel and discard.
Place the half-cooked cooled rice in 2 cups milk and continue cooking until the rice is soft.
When the rice is ready, drain. Discard the milk (if any is let over). Cool.
Beat the eggs.
Mix the ricotta with the cooled rice.
Add the sugar. Mix well.
Add the beaten eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and finely grated zest of 1 small lemon. Mix well.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. degrees.
Roll out the pastry dough to about 1/8 of an inch thick.
Grease a pie dish preferably with lard, then line the pie dish with the rolled out soft pastry dough.
Fill the pie crust with the rice and ricotta mixture. P.S. the filling should not be too thick as then it will take too long to cook, making it easy to burn the crust -- the filling should be about 1 inch thick, and not more than that.
Decorate the top of the pie with lattice strips.
Brush the lattice strips with beaten egg.
Bake in a pre-heated 350 F, degree oven until the mixture is hardened, and the crust is golden brown (about 40 minutes to 50 minutes, depending on the size of the pie).
Store in fridge.
Before serving, dust with powdered sugar.
The ricotta and rice pie shown in this entry was made by Mrs. Angela Giulione who indicated that when she was growing up in Campania in the 1930s "LA PASTIERA" as it was then identified was only made for the Easter holidays, and at no other time. In fact, no one ever called it "La Pastiera per Pasqua" as back then it was understood that "La Pastiera" was only made at this particular time of the year. Photo: Mary Melfi.