Home Italy Revisited Bookshelf Plays About Mary Melfi Contact Us
Pies and Tarts
Pizza di riso, Tarta di riso
Pizza di Riso (Italian Ricotta Easter pie, with pastry cream and rice)
Originated from: Cantalupo, Isernia, Molise
Occasion: Easter
Contributed by: Mrs. Carmella Romano

Printer Friendly Version


For Filling

For rice:
1 cup Italian rice (Unico brand the best)
1 cup water
1 cup milk
Lemon peel

For Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticcera):

1/2 liter [2 cups] of milk *
4 tablespoons flour
3 egg yolks
4 tablespoons sugar
Lemon peel

* [2 per cent milk can be used]

For ricotta filling:

1 ricotta container (about 450 g -- Saputo brand the best)
5 large eggs
1 cup sugar
Finely grated peel of 1 orange
Finely grated peel of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons clear vanilla (or packet of dry vanilla)

For pastry dough:
about 4 cups or 32 ounces of imported Italian flour processed for pies and cakes [sold in a large box that has two containers in it, has a cherry symbol on box, one container is enough for this recipe]
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 package (495g) of Tenderflake or Crisco [lard], melted *
1/2 cup sugar

For brushing pastry dough
2 egg yolks for brushing lattice strips


To cook the rice:

Soak rice in a large pot of water for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, drain the rice, and throw out the water.

Mix together 1 cup water, 1 cup milk and lemon peel.

Add rice to the water and milk mixture.

Cook until rice is ready (be careful not to burn it) -- the rice does not have to be too dry, as it will cook later in the oven.

Place the cooked rice in a bowl and cool.

To make the pastry cream (Crema Pasticcera):

Mix the milk, sugar, egg yolks and flour. Add the lemon peel.

Cook over low to medium heat stirring constantly until it turns into a custard (takes about 10 minutes).

Remove lemon peel. Cool.

To make the ricotta filling.

Using an electric beater, cream the 5 eggs and 1 cup sugar.

Place the ricotta in a bowl. Add the vanilla and two teaspoons of clear vanilla.

Add the finely grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon and mix well.

Add the creamed egg yolks and sugar mixture to the ricotta mixture.

Add the custard.

Add the cooked rice.

Mix well.

To make the pastry dough:

Mix the ingredients and work into a malleable dough -- it shouldn't be too hard, more like a cavetelli dough. If the dough is too soft, add more flour; if it's too hard add more lard.

Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Roll out the dough to make a fine crust (not too thick).

Place the rolled-out dough in a large pie container that has been greased and floured.

Add the ricotta-rice-custard mixture to the pie dish that has been lined with the pastry dough.

With a serrated cutter make thin strips.

Place the strips on top of the pie, making a nice lattice topping.

Seal with a fork.

Brush the lattice strips with egg yolk.

Cook in a 350 F degree oven for an hour and a half (In the middle of the baking, if the top browns too quickly, add some aluminum foil over it).


Serve at room temperature.


In other parts of Italy this pie is called "Torta con Risso." The "pizza di riso" shown in this entry was made by Mrs. Carmella Romano; the photo was taken by Mary Melfi.

Back to main list