Recipe: Roxana Jullapat’s Ricotta Pie with Candied Kumquats

Easter Ricotta Pie
Easter Ricotta Pie

Roxana Jullapat is the pastry chef at Ammo Cafe in Hollywood (1155 North Highland Ave.).  She adds candied kumquats (recipe) to an Italian-style Ricotta Pie.

Easter Ricotta Pie with Candied Kumquats

This classic Italian Easter dessert comes to life with the addition of minced candied kumquats. Traditionally, the ricotta filling is embellished with raisins, nuts and even bits of bitter chocolate. Kumquats have so much personality that a small amount is enough to make a compelling piece of pie without the addition of other fancy ingredients. The crust for this pie is made out of an old school pasta frolla –the Italian version of short crust- to which we added a touch of crushed fennel seeds.

Yields one, nine-inch pie

Ingredients

For the pasta frolla:
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup semolina
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
Pinch of kosher salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½-inch cubes
3 egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons iced water

For the ricotta filling:
2 eggs
1 yolk
2 tablespoons minced candied kumquats (no seeds)
½ cup sugar
1 pound ricotta (about 2 cups)
½ cup crème fraîche
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

For the pasta frolla:
Sift together the powdered sugar, flour and semolina into a mixing bowl. Toss in fennel seeds and salt. Add the cold butter cubes. Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter pieces are no bigger than a pea. Make a well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla extract and iced water. Pour egg yolk mixture in the well of the dry ingredients and gently combine all the ingredients by hand until they come together into a ball. Over a lightly floured surface, flatten the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Roll out the chilled dough over a floured surface into a round about one quarter inch thick and ten inches in diameter (you will have enough dough for a second pie shell. You may also cut rolled dough into shapes and bake as delicious Italian cookies. Leftover dough may be frozen for future use.) Pick up dough circle by rolling onto the rolling pin and lay into a nine-inch pie pan. Trim the excess dough with a pair of kitchen shears making sure to leave enough dough to make a decorative edge. Gather the edges and crimp as desired. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven.

Take the pie shell out of the refrigerator, coat it lightly with nonstick cooking spray, line it with a circle cut out of parchment paper large enough to cover the entire surface of the shell and fill with dried beans or pie weights (this will prevent the crust from puffing). Bake the shell for 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Remove the beans and parchment paper.

For the ricotta filling:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Put the filling into the pre-baked shell, place pie on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 350° F or until the edge of the filling is fully set but the center is slightly giggly. Let it cool completely. The pie is exquisite served at room temperature on the day it was baked but in the interest of time it may be prepared one day ahead and refrigerated overnight, just let it sit at room temperature for at least one hour before serving.