This Ricotta Rice pie recipe of my Mama Carmela’s and Grandma Lena’s is dedicated to the Camarata family and to the memories of Easter Sundays spent at our cottage by the lake. This is one of our family’s traditional Easter desserts and like many Italian dolces, it is simple and lightly sweet with just a kiss of lemon essence. The rice settles to the bottom leaving a custard-like top layer—Italian rice pudding in a pie!
1 1/2 cups cooked long grain or Arborio rice, cooled/room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups half & half
1 tsp vanilla
1 small lemon; juice and zested
2 dashes cinnamon (1 dash in batter, 1 dash on top)
1 9-10″ pie crust (homemade or if you must, Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a 9.5″-10″ deep dish pie dish with dough. (Recommend deep dish(2″) since this is a lot of filling and will come very close to top.)
Beat together sugar and ricotta. Add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add half & half, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and a dash of cinnamon. Mix well. Stir in rice.
Pour filling into crust and sprinkle top lightly with cinnamon. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 50-55 minutes. Should be lightly browned on top & may be slightly wiggly toward center (will set up when cool).
Let cool completely. Serve chilled or room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream, additional lemon zest and maraschino cherry.