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Italian Easter Pie

Italian Easter Pie 

For a unique way to round out your Easter menu, try this sweet yet savory Italian pie


For the crust:

3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons cold milk

For the filling:

1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese, drained well
3/4 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts or almonds


1.Make the pie crust first. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into large mixing bowl. Add butter and shortening and work into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until it resembles crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla together and add to crumbs. Knead together with your hands, adding as much milk as necessary to form a ball. Divide into two portions, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

2.Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thick. Lay the dough on the bottom of a deep dish pie pan. Let an inch hang over the sides. Refrigerate. Roll out the second half of dough to the same thickness and transfer to a baking sheet. Wrap the top with plastic and refrigerate.

3.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

4.Beat together ricotta cheese and sugar until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in orange zest, cinnamon, chocolate and pine nuts.

5.Remove pie pan from oven and pour filling into it. Lay the second pastry on top and match up the edges, crimping them together. Make several small slits in the top of the pie with a knife, to allow steam to escape.

6.Bake for one hour, or until the pastry is golden brown. If edges begin to burn, use a piece of aluminum foil wrapped around the pie.

7.Cool on a wire rack and serve room temperature.

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