Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Ricotta & Rum Pie

Wednesday, November 08, 2017
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalProv Food Expert

Serve 10-12

Many recipes are made with fresh ricotta cheese, and whether you choose sweets or savory the results are always satisfying because the cheese is very adaptable to any techniques. In the culinary world, there is an unwritten rule that comes from thousands of years of practice and experience: don’t throw anything away that you don’t have to. Ricotta is a classic example. This soft, sweet, white cheese is made from what is left over after making other cheeses. Strictly speaking, ricotta is not really considered a cheese, but a latticino—which means a dairy by-product—just as cow or buffalo milk mozzarellas are. Basically ricotta is made from whey—that is, the watery liquid that remains after cow, sheep or goat cheese is made.

For the dough

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup shortening

3 large eggs lightly beaten with a fork

1 tablespoon golden rum

For the filling

1 pound ricotta cheese, softened slightly with a fork

1 cup granulated sugar

2 packets vanilla powder available at specialty shops

2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk (beaten with a fork)

2 tablespoon golden rum

For the dough

Mix together flour, sugar and baking powder. Add the shortening and mix with hands to form pea size pieces. Add the eggs and rum. Mix together by hand to form pliable dough carefully folded not to over mix. Wrap dough with plastic wrap and set aside while making the filling.

For the filling

Add the sugar and vanilla powder to the ricotta. Add the rum to the eggs then add this mixture to the ricotta mixture. Whisk all the ingredients together gently for about 30 seconds until well mixed.

Assembly

Lightly spray the sides of a 10" round spring form with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Take ¾ of the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a circle (1/4” thick) that is large enough to fit the bottom and sides of the pan.

Cut away any excess dough from the sides of pan. Use extra pieces of dough to patch any holes that may have formed.

Pour the filling into the dough covered pan and use a spatula to even out the top.

Gather remaining pieces of dough and roll out onto a lightly floured surface. With a pastry cutter, cut ¾” wide strips of dough and place over the filling in a lattice pattern.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until very light golden in color.

While still warm, sprinkle the top lightly with sugar.

When cooled, sprinkle lightly with icing sugar, top with wild cherries if preferred, cut into wedges and enjoy.

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog

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