Ricotta and Pistachio Crostata

Buongiorno from Sicily. 🌟 It’s early AM and the sun is just beginning to peek over the buildings. After a restless night of sleep, I have my first espresso in hand and am sitting on a tiny balcony overlooking the harbor in the seaside port of Castellammare del Golfo in western Sicily. The weather has been a bit temperamental with rain and quite the windstorm over the past few days but this morning, the sun is finally shining again. I am watching and listening to the fishermen down below as they arrive and shout to each other as they work on their boats in the harbor.

View from my little balcony in Castellammare del Golfo

After spending my weekend in Palermo, I picked up a rental car at the airport and have made this little port town my home base for a few days. My Airbnb has a fantastic little balcony overlooking the harbor that luckily has righted all the wrongs with this place. (The shower leaks profusely onto the floor, the front door sticks to the point that it is near impossible to open and there is (loud) work going on in the apartment next door.) In fact, as I type, I can hear the workmen pulling up their trucks and gathering outside my front door – just before they start to invade my world with hammers and drills. Sigh…better type faster. There is so much to explore in this region. I will send more in upcoming newsletters – from the story of the salt flats to the armloads of recipes – stay tuned!

About a week before heading to Italy, I needed a dessert for a small party. I was googling dessert recipes with ricotta and came upon an Italian recipe from Cookist that married sweet ricotta with pistachio cream- a perfect combination in my book. I luckily had a jar of pistachio cream in the pantry. You can easily find it at your local Italian market or on Amazon and although the good quality ones can be a bit expensive, it is worth every spoon-licking drop. (I like this one.)

Using the recipe for inspiration, I made a sweet shortcrust pastry, filled it with creamy ricotta and pistachio filling, and then topped it with a layer of whipped cream infused with pistachio cream. And indeed, this was the dessert of my dreams – not too sweet, yet creamy, and delicious.

A few tips on making the crostata: If you haven’t worked with shortcrust pastry (also known as pasta frolla in Italian), it is easy and super forgiving to work with. If the pastry tears, you simply pat the dough into the pan to fix any issues. I use a food processor making it super easy to make (although you could also do this by hand). Once it comes together into a ball in the food processor, you just dump it out, shape it into a disc, and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

I made a classic sweet ricotta filling but added chopped pistachios for texture. (I might have even thrown a few mini chocolate chips in there if I had any.) To make the pistachio whipped cream, I used an immersion blender to make a thick cream that is a bit more stable – a tip that I learned from Serious Eats. You can also use a food processor instead of an immersion blender.

There is so much to love about this dessert – grazie, Cookist, for the inspiration!! For me, this is the perfect Easter dessert…

Time to head out to explore on my last day here in Sicily…wishing everyone who celebrates a beautiful Easter holiday.

Buona Pasqua a tutti, 🐣

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Ricotta and Pistachio Crostata | OurItalianTable.com

Ricotta and Pistachio Crostata


Description

This beautiful combination of ricotta and pistachios is a match made in heaven!  


Ingredients

Scale

Adapted from: https://www.cookist.it/crostata-ricotta-e-pistacchio/

For the pasta frolla:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling 
  • 1⁄3  cup granulated sugar 
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Large pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

For the ricotta layer:

  • 2 cups whole-milk ricotta, room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ tablespoons heavy cream
  • ¼ cup chopped pistachios

For the pistachio layer:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup pistachio cream

To garnish: 

  • Chopped pistachios
  • About 2 tablespoons pistachio cream
  • Heavy cream, if pistachio cream is thick

Equipment needed: 10-inch tart pan, Food processor, Immersion blender (optional)


Instructions

1. Make the pasta frolla (shortcrust):  Cut the butter into small pieces (about 18-20). In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add in the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add in the eggs and pulse until the dough comes together into a ball. 

3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and using your hands, press it together to form a round flat disk.

4. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour before using.

5. Make the filling while the dough is resting: In a bowl, whisk together the ricotta, sugar, vanilla, egg, and heavy cream until smooth. Stir in the chopped pistachios.

6. Preheat the oven to 350° F. 

7. Remove the dough from the fridge. Unwrap. Lightly flour your working surface and the top of the dough. Roll out the dough to form a circle large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 10-inch tart pan. You can do this between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap as it will make it easier to transfer the dough to the pan. 

8. Transfer the dough to the tart pan. Lightly press the dough on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Don’t worry if the dough cracks or breaks. Pat the dough together as needed, filling any empty spots. Trim any excess dough. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Fill the crust with the ricotta. Smooth out the surface. Put in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the center is set and the crust is lightly toasted. Remove from the oven.

9. Allow the crostata to cool completely. 

10. Using an immersion blender or food processor, process one cup of the heavy cream with the pistachio paste until the mixture is thick and creamy. Spread the pistachio cream over the ricotta layer.  Place the crostata in the refrigerator until cold. 

11. Sprinkle chopped pistachios around the edge of the crostata. If your pistachio cream is thick, thin it with a few tablespoons of heavy cream so that it is thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle the pistachio cream over the crostata. Serve! 

Join the Conversation

  1. Absolutely gorgeous! And made with pistachios.. Sign me up! Have a lovely Easter, guys!

    1. Michele Author says:

      Grazie Frank- an a beautiful Easter to you as well!!

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