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Pasia's Ricotta Pie

Makes 6 servings

The rich, creamy result is fit for royalty, yet there's nothing difficult about the recipe, so it's never been easier to show off your culinary skills.

Find this recipe and more in Chef Paul Prudhomme's Kitchen Expedition.

ingredients
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, in all
3 tablespoons ground blanched almonds
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ cups half-and-half cream
about ¼ cup Zest of 3 medium-size oranges
4 large eggs
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese, soft variety, about 1¾ cups
6 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup Grand Marnier® or your favorite orange-flavored liqueur
1/2 cup dried currants
1 (6-ounce) package butterscotch chips
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped roasted pecans
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
6 sheets phyllo dough, each about 14 inches by 18 inches
how to prepare

Combine ½ cup of the sugar, the almonds, and the flour, and sift together.

 

Place the half-and-half cream in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat and whisk in the almond/flour mixture.  Bring to a boil, whisking constantly—as soon as it reaches a boil it will begin to thicken.  Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.  Pour the mixture onto a sheet pan and chill in the refrigerator until the temperature of the mixture is lowered to 50°.

 

Place ½ cup of water in an 8-inch nonstick skillet over high heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the orange zest.  Bring just to a boil, then remove from the heat.  Strain out the orange zest and mince it.

 

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment whisk the eggs for 3 minutes, then add the ricotta. Continue to whisk for 2 minutes, then add the chilled mixture, the orange zest, sour cream, vanilla and Grand Marnier.  Continue to whip on the lowest speed until the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes.  Add the currants, butterscotch chips, raisins and roasted pecans.

 

Preheat the oven to 300°.

 

If you’ve never worked with phyllo pastry before, read the package directions.  Don’t let it intimidate you, but do handle it with great care, as it tears very easily.  Assemble the phyllo pastry by laying 1 sheet of the dough on a clean, dry work surface.  Brush the top of the sheet lightly with butter.  Lay another sheet of phyllo on top of the buttered sheet and repeat the process until you have 3 buttered layers.  When you have 3 layers, carefully line an 8-inch by 8-inch cake pan with the buttered sheets, allowing the edges of the dough to hang over the sides.  Gently blot up any excess butter with a paper towel.  Make another 3 layers of buttered phyllo sheets as above and place them in the pan at right angles to the previous 3 sheets.  Place the ricotta mixture in the pan and gently even it out.  With scissors trim the excess phyllo dough, leaving about ½ inch hanging over the sides.  Fold this remaining border toward the center of the pan so that it is angled inward but not touching the filling.

 

Bake until the edges of the phyllo crust are lightly browned, about 1 hour.  Cool at least 4 hours before serving or, if you prefer, refrigerate the pie and serve it cold.  It’s wonderful either way.

 

Copyright © 1996 by Paul Prudhomme

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