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Posts Tagged ‘Italian’

postheadericon Italian Easter Rice Pie (Pastiera di Riso)

Every cook has their own version of this popular pie that appears on many tables in Italian-American homes in the Coal Region where large numbers of Italians settled as immigrants to America. Of the twenty-three million people who emigrated from foreign countries to live in the United States by the start of World War I, nearly five million were from Italy. (Lackawanna County in NE Pa. boasts one of the nation’s largest and most diverse Italian American populations.) Easter pie (pastiera) is found all over Italy, but its origins are Neapolitan where these pies with a tender, cookie-like crust filled with fresh ricotta cheese and rice and sweetened with sugar, were made in batches, wrapped in clear cellophane, and given away as Easter gifts.  Today, some cooks add chopped candied orange peel, citron, mixed fruits and/or chocolate chips to their pie, some do not. There is no “right” or “wrong” recipe – you should make it to suit your family’s tastes – every version is delicious!

Italian Easter Rice Pie

Yield: 2 pies

Italian Easter Rice Pie

Easter Rice Pie

Ingredients

    Pastry
  • 2-1/2 pounds flour (about 6 cups, as needed)
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup Cold Water
    Filling
  • 1/2 pound Long Grain or Arborio Rice
  • 2 cups Cold Water
  • 1 qt whole Milk, heated just to scalding
  • 1 - 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 1 pound Ricotta Cheese, well drained
  • 6 Large Eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Finely Chopped Candied Citron
  • Grated zest from 1/2 of a Large Orange

Instructions

    Pastry
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar, then cut in the butter until it looks like coarse corn meal.
  2. Add the water, a little at a time, just until it just forms a ball; you may not need to use all the water.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and quickly knead it once or twice, into a slightly flattened ball, but don't overwork dough.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill the dough, about an hour.
  5. Divide the chilled dough in two, and roll out each piece to fit a 9 inch, deep dish pie pan.
  6. If there is any dough leftover, roll and cut it into strips for a lattice top.
    Filling
  1. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the water and rice to a boil, then gently boil on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the rice and return it to the saucepan with the heated milk. Cook on medium low heat for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add the sugar and ricotta, stirring well.
  5. Add the beaten egg, cinnamon, citron and orange peel. Mix well and pour into 2 prepared deep dish pie pans.
  6. Decorate the top with any extra dough strips to make a lattice top and flute the edge.
  7. Place the pies in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 350 F degrees.
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. It may be necessary to cover the edge with some foil if it is browning too quickly.
  9. Cool, chill, and cut into wedges to serve.

Notes

To chop the citron place it in food processor with some of the sugar for the filling. Process it until there are no large chunks, it should be fairly fine.

http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/04/14/italian-easter-rice-pie-pastiera-di-riso/

 

 

 

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postheadericon Italian Easter Bread (Pane di Pasqua)

Bread has incredible significance in many cultures on Easter tables; on the Italian Easter table, bread has a religious significance — Christ is often referred to as “the bread of life.”  This Italian Easter Bread is braided with eggs for not only a festive look, but also signifies signs from nature of new life, just as Christians celebrate new life in the risen Christ. It is baked in the shape of a wreath to symbolize the crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ at the crucifixion. The three pieces of dough braided together represent the three elements of the Holy Trinity.  During Lent, many households abstain from rich foods and sweets. The end of Lent brings about a time to celebrate and indulge which often includes Easter breads which are sweet, egg-enriched, and often contain dried fruit which at one time was a luxury item. This particular bread is traditionally made for Italian and Greek Easter celebrations though many Eastern European countries also claim it as their own. It is no wonder that this bread often makes an appearance on Easter tables in the Anthracite Coal Region where those cultures are extremely well represented.

There are many family recipes for this bread, none are “right” or “wrong” and each is as delicious as the other.  This recipe features a slightly sweet  dough with tones of citrus and anise. If you desire, you could knead in some candied fruit or raisins to your dough. You will be using raw eggs which will cook as the bread bakes, so handle them gently when dying them and be sure to use food-safe dyes. The eggs get placed between the “ropes” of bread dough that form the braid,  so remember to braid loosely when working with your dough. The eggs get placed in the dough braid before the last rise and tend to want to roll outward during the rise if placed close to the outside of the braid, so keep the eggs slightly toward the inside of the dough circle when inserting them. Glaze is optional, the choice is yours. You can also dress up the glazed top with colorful sprinkles or sliced almonds. You can make this recipe as individual “nests” with a single egg in each if you desire.

Italian Easter Bread (Pane di Pasqua)

Italian Easter Bread (Pane di Pasqua)

Italian Easter Bread

Ingredients

    Bread
  • 1/2 cup milk, warmed to 100 F degrees
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced (you need approximately ½ c juice)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground anise or pure anise extract
    Braid
  • 6 raw eggs, dyed if desired in food-safe coloring
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water for brushing
    OPTIONAL Glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

    Dough
  1. In a small bowl, mix the warm milk with the sugar until dissolved. Add the yeast and set aside until foamy, approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer, stir together 3 c ups flour and the salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the orange juice and zest, eggs, melted butter, and anise.
  4. Add the yeast mixture and orange juice mixture to the flour, stirring until moistened. Add the remaining flour to the dough, a little at a time, mixing until the dough comes together.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, until soft and smooth. (or knead in mixer).
  6. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough with oil. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a towel, and set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
    Shaping
  1. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
  2. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts.
  3. Using both hands, roll each piece into a 24” rope. If dough does not want to stretch to form a long rope, cover it lightly and let it sit for a 10 minutes to relax.
  4. Lay the three ropes side-by-side, pinch one end of them together and loosely braid the ropes of dough.
  5. Gently place and shape the braid into a circle on a parchment lined baking sheet and pinch ends together to close the circle.
  6. Carefully tuck the raw eggs into the braid placing them on top and toward the inner edge of the braid to prevent them from rolling outward during the next rise.
  7. Gently brush the dough ring with egg wash; avoid getting too close to the eggs to prevent the dye from running.
  8. Let the ring rise until puffy and doubled, approximately 1 hour.
    Baking
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake tor 25 minutes or until golden and braid sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and allow to cool on pan for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
    OPTIONAL Glaze
  1. Once the bread is cool, combine confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla and stir until smooth. Add more milk if necessary until smooth but not runny. Drizzle over the Italian Easter bread around the eggs
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/04/01/italian-easter-bread-pane-di-pasqua/

Individual Breads

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postheadericon Italian Easter Pie (Pizza Rustica)

Lent, the season preceding Easter, is a time of penance and abstinence; in Italian households this pie, stuffed full of cheese, meats, and eggs is the sign that Lent is over and Easter has arrived.  Pizza Rustica is made all over Italy for Easter and in many Italian-American homes throughout the US and here in the Coal Region. Of the twenty-three million people who emigrated from foreign countries to live in the United States by the start of World War One, nearly five million were from Italy. (Lackawanna County in NE Pa. boasts one of the nation’s largest and most diverse Italian American populations.)  All were devoutly Catholic and possessed a passion for their home region and an adherence to its traditions, customs and dialect.

Traditionally made on Good Friday but not enjoyed until Easter Sunday, (it is a perfect make ahead dish for an Easter brunch) this pie’s exact filling ingredients change from family to family, but the idea is always basically the same – hearty meats and cheeses in a rich egg-y filling baked in a crust.  As long as you like YOUR recipe, that’s all that matters – all are equally delicious. Often, the family recipes are passed down and the next generation of cooks is mentored to create the dish to ensure that their family tradition continues.

Make this to your taste – feel free to use a mix of your favorite meats; sausage, ham, pepperoni, soppressata,  mortadella, capicola or hard salami. Just be sure you use about 2 pounds total. Your local deli that slices to order would likely be more than happy to cut the deli meats into slabs for you which is better for chopping up than trying to use thin slices. You can use the crust included in this recipe, your own favorite crust, ready made pizza dough, even puff pastry. You can make a pattern on the crust or leave it plain The goal is to enjoy your creation! (Recipe from today.com)

 

Italian Easter Pie (Pizza Rustica)

Italian Easter Pie (Pizza Rustica)

Italian Easter Pie

Ingredients

    Crust
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes, chilled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup ice water
    Filling
  • 8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 and ½ pounds ricotta
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 8 ounces Genoa salami, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 8 ounces pepperoni, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 ounces smoked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 ounces prosciutto, cut into 1/4–inch cubes
  • 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
    Egg wash
  • 1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

    Crust
  1. In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  2. Add the eggs and water and pulse until evenly moistened and just coming together.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a board and knead several times.
  4. Divide the dough into 2 pieces (one is 1/3 of the total of dough and the other is 2/3).
  5. Wrap and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375° and butter and flour a 9-inch spring form pan.
  7. Roll the larger piece of dough on a floured surface, to a 15-inch round. Ease it into the pan without tearing and tuck it into the corners. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
    Filling
  1. Brown the sweet Italian sausage in a medium skillet over moderately high heat, breaking it into small lumps. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Add the ricotta, the 3 raw eggs, mozzarella, salami, pepperoni, ham, prosciutto, hard cooked eggs, Parmesan and parsley and stir to combine.
  3. Scrape the mixture into the crust and spread to an even layer. Brush the edges of the crust with some of the egg yolk mixture.
  4. On a floured surface, roll the remaining, smaller piece of dough to a 10-inch round. Place on top of the filling, pressing the pastry edges together.
  5. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch and tuck the overhang underneath. Crimp with a fork and brush the surface with the egg yolk mixture. Cut a small steam vent in center.
  6. Bake on bottom rack of oven until golden and the filling is bubbling, about 75 minutes.
  7. Loosely cover with foil halfway through to prevent over browning.
  8. Transfer to a rack to cool, then refrigerate for several hours.
  9. Remove the ring and slide the pizza rustica onto a platter.
  10. Cut into wedges. Serve cold or reheat.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2019/03/17/italian-easter-pie-pizza-rustica/

 

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postheadericon Baccala for Christmas Eve

Pennsylvania was a leading state in developing heavy industries in the late 19th century such as coal, iron and steel, railroads, and cement and glass. These industries hired huge numbers of new immigrants, especially Italians and Poles, who filled the need for large numbers of men who were eager to accept unskilled low paying jobs. Immigrants also composed a large percentage of the work force of other smaller industries in Pennsylvania.  So many Italians headed to Pennsylvania that by 1890 their population was the second highest in the United States. Between 1880 and World War I more than four million Italians immigrated to the United States. Eighty percent of them were southern Italians. In Pennsylvania, over 70% of Italians who came moved to the mid-size and smaller industrial towns scattered throughout the state. Italians settled in the soft coal fields of southwestern Pennsylvania, as well as in the eastern Anthracite towns of Pittston, Shamokin, Hazleton, and Nanticoke, to name only a few and in the industrial towns of Reading, Scranton, and Allentown. The ancient tradition of eating fish on Christmas Eve dates from the Roman Catholic custom of abstinence from meat and dairy products on the eve of certain holidays, including Christmas.  As many Italians are Catholic, Christmas is one of the most important holidays to them and one of their traditions involves eating 7 different seafood dishes on Christmas Eve. The number seven is rooted back in ancient times and it can be connected to multiple Catholic symbols. Flash forward to the early 1900s, when the official “Feast of the Seven Fishes” first emerged. Italian-American families rekindled the Old Country’s Christmas Eve tradition by preparing a seven-course seafood meal that both made them feel close to their homes, while celebrating the sea, a major connection in Italy. Today, it’s considered one of the oldest Italian traditions. Many of the dishes will differ from family to family, however, one dish is usually included – Baccala. Baccala is dried and salted cod, sometimes referred to simply as salt cod; cod which has been preserved by drying after salting. To prepare for this dish soak the cod in cold water to cover in a cool spot or refrigerator for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days, changing the water frequently. After 24 hours, break off a tiny piece of fish and taste for saltiness. If fish is still quite salty, continue soaking until water is very clear and fish is almost sweet in taste. You can find salt cod at many markets, grocery stores, fish mongers, and even over the internet.

This recipe is adapted for today’s cooks from “Treasured Italian Recipes“, 1989

Baccala for Christmas Eve

 Baccala for Christmas Eve

Baccala - Salt Cod

Ingredients

    Marinara
  • 2 - 28 ounce cans whole tomatoes, lightly drained then crushed with a fork
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 leaves basil, torn
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Olive oil
    Bacala
  • Marinara sauce
  • 4 or 5 large potatoes, quartered, boiled, and hot
  • 2 pound or so fresh baccala, rinsed thoroughly OR dried (If you use the dried variety of baccala that has been preserved in salt, you will need to soak it before using, changing water frequently. Note this is the better of the two for flavor and preferred.)
  • 1 can unpitted black olives

Instructions

    Marinara
  1. In bottom of large sauce pan, saute onion in small amount of oil.
  2. Add remainder of ingredients and simmer about 30 minutes.
    Baccala
  1. When sauce is ready, cut your fish in large pieces.
  2. Carefully drop them in the sauce (they should be covered by the sauce).
  3. Sprinkle with black pepper.
  4. Poach until fish almost flakes; surround fish with hot potatoes.
  5. Top all with black olives and continue cooking until fish flakes.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. Add additional salt at the table if needed; baccala usually has a lot of of its own salt. For those with a spicy appetite, a little red pepper can be offered at the table.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/12/14/bacala-for-christmas-eve/

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postheadericon Panettone

Panettone is an Italian type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year in Western, Southern, and Southeastern Europe. Originating in the 1500s, it started off as a “luxury cake” that was only eaten for religious celebrations. Mass production in the early 1900s gave the bread its familiar domed shape and made it more available and it soon became a staple in Italian households during the holiday season. By the end of World War II, panettone was cheap enough for anyone and soon became the country’s leading Christmas sweet. Italians who migrated to the US and to the Anthracite Coal Region brought the Christmas tradition with them. Panettone is popular within Italian communities around the world, and can commonly be found in Italian grocery stores in the US, Canada, and the UK. Traditionally, panettone requires a long rise time – usually overnight or even a full day. This version is much faster for the home cook to create. If you would rather make your own instead of buying panettone from a big pyramid display of square boxes in the middle of your supermarket, and do  not have a full day to dedicate to making it, this recipe is for you. Buon Natale! This recipe is from “Treasured Italian Recipes” 1989

Panettone

Yield: 10 to 12 slices

Panettone

Panettone

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk, beaten (reserve white for later use)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 ounces brandy
  • 4 to 5 cups sifted AP flour
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup diced candied fruit
  • 1/2 cup candied cherry halves
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 egg white (reserved from earlier in the recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

Instructions

  1. In large bowl, sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over yeast. Cover and let stand 10 minutes.
  2. In another bowl, combine butter, orange juise, orange zest, vanilla. almond extract, brandy, 1/2 cup sugar and beaten egg. Beat well, then stir into yeast mixture. Combine well.
  3. Begin adding flour, 1 cup at a time. Stir in flour until dough leaves side of bowl. Turn dough onto floured board and knead in flour until dough is smooth and elastic. Dough should be soft, but not sticky.
  4. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and keep in a warm place (80F). Let rise until double in bulk (approximately 90 minutes).
  5. Punch down dough, turn on to floured board and flatten with palm of hand. Spread raisins and candied fruit on top and knead in until fruits are well distributed.
  6. Place dough in a well-greased 9 inch round souffle baking dish. Cover and let rise in a warm place until dough rises 2 to 3 inches above rim of baking dish.
  7. With a sharp knife, make a deep cross cut on top of the dough. Brush with egg white beaten with 2 tablespoons water.
  8. Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for about 30 minutes.
  9. Remove bread from oven. Brush top with the egg white mixture and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Return to oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven; let cool for 5 minutes. Remove from baking dish and cool on rack.

Notes

Serve with butter. Very good sliced, toasted, buttered, and served warm.

http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/12/13/panettone/

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postheadericon Polpetta (Meatballs)

When I was a child, growing up in the Anthracite Coal Region, “vacation” was a rare event, certainly  not something that was guaranteed to happen annually. The budget was tight and my Dad’s work demanded he put in long hours in the summer. When a vacation opportunity did present itself, we did as many people in the Coal Region did; we went “down the shore” — Jersey shore that is — Wildwood, NJ in particular. I loved the shore.  Wildwood had a lot of amusements and rides for the entire family and my Dad and I had a ritual — we would rent a tandem bike and ride on the boardwalk in the early morning sometimes veering off and exploring the streets of town. To save money when we did go to the shore, we stayed in a big, old Victorian house in which there were several rooms for rent and two efficiency apartments. We stayed in an apartment and made our own meals except for an occasional dinner out. One year, we got particularly lucky. My dad, who was stationed in Italy during WWII and remembered a bit of the Italian language he had picked up, came in and announced he had “made some new friends” in the apartment underneath us — a family of post-war Italian immigrants. Seems Dad and the husband in the family staying there struck up a conversation — in Italian.  Dad admitted he fumbled his way through, but was proficient enough to share some memories, have a few laughs, and it wound up with us being invited to dinner with these lovely folks! I was (am still am…) fussy about tomato and pasta sauces.  But I was even more particular about meatballs.  I detested big, tough, over-worked, over-cooked, weirdly seasoned blobs lying on top of my pasta. So, I figured, “Maybe I’ll like the sauce.” (which I LOVED) and I will just act like I am eating the meatballs.  But somewhere along the way, a little bit of meatball found itself onto my fork and the clouds parted and the angels sang! Sized just right, moist, tender, flavorful… I begged my Mom to ask for the recipe.  It has been in my recipe collection ever since and it is my favorite meatball.  Ever. “Grazie amici miei italiani” (Thank you my Italian friends.) NOTE: Use good quality cheese, not that saw-dust like stuff in a can from the grocery store shelf.

Polpetta (Meatballs)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 2 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup torn day old Italian bread soaked in 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 or 3 medium cloves very finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • OPTIONAL Fresh or dried bread crumbs as needed for rolling.

Instructions

  1. Squeeze excess milk from bread.
  2. Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Be gentle and do not over-mix.
  3. Shape into ping pong or golf balls sized balls and roll lightly in bread crumbs, if desired.
  4. Brown well in frying pan with olive oil and add to your tomato sauce.
  5. Let finish cooking by simmering in sauce.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/11/05/polpetta-meatballs/

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postheadericon Italian Ricotta Pie

The Coal Region is a melting pot of ethnic influences; English, Welsh, Irish and German immigrants formed a large portion of the initial flow of immigrants after the American Civil War in the late 1800s followed by Polish, Slovak, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Italian, Russian and Lithuanian immigrants. The influence of these immigrant populations is still strongly felt in the region, with various towns possessing pronounced ethnic characters and cuisine.  This recipe pays homage to those of us in the Coal region with Italian heritage. This is a very old recipe passed down through many generations. Like so many other dishes, every family has their own cherished version of this classic.  This recipe does not use butter in the crust but instead uses extra virgin olive oil which gives the crust a crispy, flaky, cookie-like texture on the outer edges and the bottom crust under the ricotta cheese filling is slightly cake-like in texture. Optional, but not included in the original recipe: add 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or 1 tablespoon lemon zest to the filling before baking.

Italian Ricotta Pie

Italian Ricotta Pie

Ricotta Pie

Ingredients

    Crust
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks (save egg whites for filling)
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
    Filling
  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 2 egg whites (saved from making the crust)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    Prep the oven
  1. Bring 2 or more quarts of water to boil on stove. In the bottom rack of the preheated oven, place a baking dish such as a 9×13-inch baking dish and fill with the hot, boiled water. Place another oven rack directly over that to next higher rack position.
    Make the pie dough
  1. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and sugar. Stir to combine.
  2. In a smaller bowl combine egg yolks, milk, olive oil, and both extracts.
  3. Make a hole in the center of the flour and pour in liquid. With a wooden spoon, mix to combine. (If the mixture gets too difficult to combine with a wooden spoon, used your hands to finish mixing).
  4. Flour your countertop well and place the dough ball in the center, pressing to form a round disc. Flour a rolling pin and gently roll to a circle an inch or two larger than a deep dish 9-inch pie plate. (or roll between two pieces of parchment paper)
  5. Move the rolled dough to the pie plate. This dough is soft and delicate so be gentle.
  6. Use your fingers to form and press the dough into the the pie dish, crimping the top edge all the way around. If the dough tears, just patch it by pressing pieces together - no one will ever know! Set aside.
    Make the Filling
  1. Place the ricotta in a large bowl and mix in sugar until combined.
  2. Add whole eggs, egg whites and vanilla and stir to combine with a wooden spoon or wire whisk.
  3. Pour the filling directly into unbaked crust. Cover the crust edge with foil or pie crust shield so the edges don’t get too browned as the pie bakes.
  4. Place pie in the center of oven on the rack set over the water bath and bake for one hour and ten minutes. Turn off oven but leave the pie in the oven for ten more minutes. (Don’t open the oven door during any of the time that the pie is in the oven.)
  5. Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before refrigerating – if you put the pie in the refrigerator while still warm, it will weep slightly and collect moisture on top.)
  6. Chill overnight uncovered. Cut and serve.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/31/italian-ricotta-pie/

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postheadericon Italian Seven Layer Cookies

Also known as “Rainbow Cookies”, these are a staple in most Italian bakeries but can be made in your kitchen with a little time and patience.  They are not difficult to make, but there is waiting, chilling, and inactive time involved so plan accordingly.  Often, you will find recipes or bakeries that use only one flavor jam — apricot — in these cookies, but some older recipes often use two jams — apricot and seedless raspberry.  I have included that version here, but feel free to use only one to suit your taste. It is surmised rainbow cookies seem to have been created in America by Italian American immigrants to honor the colors of the Italian flag. Although found in bakeries year round, they are especially popular at Christmas.

Italian Seven Layer Cookies

Italian Seven Layer Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2½ sticks unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces, plus more for the pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
  • 8 ounces almond paste
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring (gel or paste preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon green food coloring (gel or paste preferred)
  • Two 15-ounce jars smooth (not chunky) apricot jam OR 1 Jar each of Apricot and seedless raspberry jam
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour three 15- by- 10- inch rimmed sheet pans, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the almond paste and all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until you have fine crumbles. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and pulse until well mixed. Plop in the egg yolks, one at a time, and mix until the batter is smooth. Sprinkle in the salt, and mix. Sift in the flour, and mix until just combined.
  3. Whisk egg whites in a bowl until foamy. While whisking, slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and whisk until firm peaks form. Fold about a third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then gently fold in remaining egg whites.
  4. Divide the batter evenly into three bowls. Leave one bowl plain, without any coloring. Add the red food coloring to one bowl, stirring to make a deep- salmon color. Add the green food coloring to the last bowl, stirring to make a medium- green color. Spread batter into each of the prepared pans with a spatula.
  5. Bake, rotating pans to opposite racks, until the cakes are cooked through and just beginning to brown around the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let the cakes cool completely on wire racks, then remove from pans.
  6. Trim each of the layers to even out the thickness of the cakes if necessary. Put the green cake layer back, cut side up, into one of the lined pans. Spread one jar of jam over the cake, almost all the way to the edges. do not put too thick a layer of jam on cake. Err on the side of less rather than so much it oozes out the side when the cakes are layered together.
  7. Place the plain layer of cake on top of the jam. Spread the remaining jar of jam almost all the way to the edges of the plain layer.
  8. Place the red layer on top of the jam, cut side up. Wrap the entire cake in plastic, and top with another pan, weighted with cans. Chill in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
  9. Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Remove weight and plastic wrap. Bring layers to room temperature.
  10. Trim edges of assembled layers with a long serrated knife. Quickly spread half of chocolate in a thin layer on top of cake. Chill, uncovered, until chocolate is firm, about 15 minutes.
  11. Cover with another sheet of wax paper and place another baking sheet on top, then invert cake onto sheet and remove paper. Quickly spread with remaining chocolate. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
  12. Using a serrated knife, cut the set layers into rectangles, using the outer sides to form perfectly cut rectangles. NOTE: these cut much easier if frozen before cutting.
  13. Cookies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment, in an airtight container at room temperature 2 weeks. They’ll keep even longer in the freezer.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/10/italian-seven-layer-cookies/

 

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