Easter dinner is a time to celebrate the end of lent and coming of spring. What better way to celebrate than with some Easter dessert recipes?
Pies Are Fun
Italian Easter dinners will usually feature pies. Not only are pies fun to make and eat, but they also hold in the refrigerator really well so you can make them ahead of time and bake them on Easter Sunday. This frees up time to get the rest of dinner prepared and you might even want to spend some of that time with your guests. Easter dinner in Italy will usually include the traditional Easter dinner pie, but if you are not inclined to have pie for dinner as well as dessert, or if you want to make a leg of lamb or some ham for diner, then an Easter dessert pie is just the thing to complete your dessert table.
Easter Dessert Recipes
Many Easter dessert recipes will feature ricotta cheese and this one is no exception. Ricotta cheese is a mild flavored cheese that is a bit like cottage cheese but naturally sweeter if only slightly. The great thing about ricotta cheese is that it naturally picks up the flavor of any aromatic that you add to it so just a little lemon or orange zest will give your dessert a natural, subtle flavor without having to add extracts or artificial flavors. While many Easter dessert recipes will revolve around cannoli or Ricotta cheesecake we are featuring a pie this time.
This pie recipe calls for farro, one of the oldest cultivated grains. You can usually find farro at specialty stores or you can order it online form any of a number of sites. If you can't get farro at your local store you can substitute barley, the taste will be a bit different but the texture and end results will be the same.
You can use either the pie dough recipe that I gave for Caramelized banana custard pie recipe or the pie dough recipe that I gave for the Easter dinner pie. As always, if you prefer to use a pre-made pie crust you can do that as well. Just make sure that you get two pre-made pie crusts and thaw them thoroughly because you will need to cut one up for the top of the pie.
The Filling for Easter Dessert Pie
If you like you, can forego the top crust and just mark the top of the pie with a fork to give it an interesting texture.
- ½ pound of farro
- 1 pound of ricotta
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of orange zest chopped fine
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
- 2 cups milk
- Zest of one lemon
- 4 eggs separated
- 3 tablespoons of confectioner's sugar
- You will need a 9-inch cake pan for this recipe.
- Soak the farro in cool water changing the water every day.
- After soaking for three days, drain the farro and add it to a pot with enough cold water to cover the farro.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer for 15 minutes and then drain the grain.
- In another pot, bring the milk just to a simmer and then add the farro, half the lemon zest, half the cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar.
- Let this cook slowly over a medium flame until all the milk has been absorbed by the farro.
- Using a large bowl, beat the ricotta with a spoon or rubber spatula until it becomes smooth and creamy. This is not a step to rush. If you use a mixer to do this step the ricotta will break and release too much water.
- Once the ricotta is smooth, add the rest of the cinnamon, sugar, egg yolks, and the rest of the zest.
- Mix this with your spatula until everything is well mixed.
- Add the cooked faro to the cheese mixture.
- Mix well.
- If you have made your own pie dough, separate the dough into two pieces, one three times the size of the other.
- Roll out the large dough and line your cake pan with it.
- Roll out the second, smaller dough and cut it into strips about an inch wide.
- If you are using pre-made pie crusts carefully remove each one from the pan.
- Roll out the first one so it is large enough to line the 9-inch cake pan.
- Carefully place the dough in the cake pan and gently fit it to the cake pan.
- Remove the second one from the pie tin and slice it into strips about an inch wide.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Using your stand mixer beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the ricotta mixture.
- Pour the mixture into the cake pan.
- Lay the cut pie dough across the top of the pie in a lattice formation.
- If you want to you can brush the top pie dough with an egg wash, but this is not necessary.
- Bake the pie for one hour or until the crust is a light golden brown.
- Sprinkle the confectioner's sugar over the pie before serving.