Cheese Cake (Crostata Di Ricotta)


6 - 8 servings
175 g (6 oz) 12 Tbs Butter, cut into small pieces
225 g (8 oz) 2 cups Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
4 Egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 Tbs Sugar
5 Tbs Marsala
1 1/2 tsp Grated lemon rind

for the filling

1 1/4 kg (2 1/2 lb) Ricotta cheese
125 g (4 oz) 1/2 cup Sugar
2 Tbs Flour
1/2 tsp Vanilla essence (extract)
Grated rind of 1 orange
Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
3 Tbs Raisins
2 Tbs Finely chopped candied peel
2 Tbs Slivered almonds
1 Egg white, lightly beaten


1. Lightly grease a 23 cm (9 in) springform pan with a little butter. Set aside.

2. To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and drop in the remaining butter, the egg yolks, sugar, Marsala and lemon rind. Using your fingertips, lightly combine all the ingredients, then knead the dough until it is smooth and can be formed into a ball. Do not overhandle. Cover the dough and chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour, or until it is fairly firm.

3. Break off about a quarter of the dough. Dust it with flour, cover and return to the refrigerator. Reshape the rest of the dough into a ball, then flatten into a circle. Roll out to a circle about 5 cm (2 in) wider than the pan. Using the rolling pin, gently ease the dough into the pan to form a case, trimming off any excess.

4. Preheat the oven to moderate 180°C (Gas Mark 4, 350°F).

5. To make the filling, beat all the ingredients together, except the almonds and egg white, until they are well blended. Spoon into the dough case and sprinkle over the almonds.

6. Remove the reserved dough from the refrigerator and roll out to a rectangle at least 25 cm (10 in) long. Cut the dough into long strips, then arrange the strips across the filling to make a lattice pattern. Brush with the egg white.

7. Put the pie into the oven and bake for 1 hour, or until the crust is golden and the filling is firm to touch. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Remove the pie from the pan and leave to cool. Serve cold, in wedges.

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