Here at last, as promised earlier, is the post about how T made ricotta leek pie.
I first saw this pie on Dee’s site Choos & Chews and was absolutely wowed. Mostly by the description of her day. I showed T the post and after marvelling at Dee’s superpowers, he immediately said that we were going to try the pie. Dee based her pie on Marie’s (Proud Italian Cook) Savory Vegetable Ricotta Pies.
Isn’t the internet wonderful?
The pie calls for two things that I’ve never disliked but wouldn’t have gone out of my way to have: ricotta and puff pastry. Because of the pie, all this has changed.
A long time ago (in computer time) I even rashly said that I didn’t like puff pastry at all. (Was that really me??)
He makes great puff pastry!
Yup, there’s nothing like butter to make things taste good.
It turns out that homemade ricotta is the same. My association with ricotta is that it is somewhat grainy and a bit sweet tasting, in a sour sort of way. Now, after having tasted home-made ricotta, the association has changed entirely.
As Dee mentioned, ricotta is ridiculously easy to make. All that is required is milk, lemon juice and salt. The resulting ricotta is wonderfully light and fluffy with a lovely fresh flavour; it is markedly different in flavour and texture from commercially produced ricotta.
I don’t think it’s really much less expensive the storebought ricotta but the flavour is far superior, at least superior to the storebought ricotta we have bought. (I’m sure there must be some brilliant artisanal ricottas available; I just don’t know where they are or how much of a mortgage we’d have to take out to try them.)
Here’s how T made Dee’s pie:
Ricotta Leek Pie
base on Dee’s (Choos & Chews) Caramelized Leek and Ricotta Pie
- 1 litre milk*
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tsp seasalt
- 2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp seasalt
- ⅔ c COLD unsalted butter, in all
- 1 tsp vinegar
- COLD water
- 3 leeks, sliced
- 250ml (1 c) Ricotta cheese, well drained
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- good shot Gouda
- dried oregano
- seasalt and pepper
- Ricotta: Pour the milk into a pot (we used 3.2% rather than the low fat milk that Dee used). Stir in lemon juice and seasalt. Bring to a boil, and immediately turn down the heat. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, until you see curds. Avoid stirring; you want the curds to stay intact. Remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm.
- Line a sieve (or colander) with several layers of cheesecloth. Pour the contents carefully into the sieve to allow the whey to drain. Leave to drain for 2 hours or so, until the ricotta is dry. (Reserve the whey.**) Refrigerate ricotta until ready to use. (I have no idea how long it keeps but my guess is that it should be eaten sooner rather than later.)
- Pastry: In a medium sized bowl, stir flour and salt together. Cut approx 1 Tbsp butter into the flour mix til it is in pea sized chunks. Add vinegar and just enough COLD water to create a ball of dough. Knead the dough til it is smooth. Form into a ball. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for about an hour.
- Lightly dust the counter with flour and place the ball of dough on top. Without cutting right through, make an + cut in the top of the pastry. Fold out the + to create a square. (Pull the center of the + cut outwards to turn the round into a square  ) Use the rolling pin to roll the corners out further, til they are quite thin but NOT torn, leaving the center section quite thick.
- Form the rest of the butter into a square box shape and place it (one big COLD lump of butter) in the center of the pastry. Carefully fold the corners over the butter to completely seal it in. Flatten the rectangle with your hands then roll it out. Fold the rectangle in a double fold. Cover and allow the dough to rest about 15 minutes. Roll the folded dough out into a rectangle, turn it by a quarter and double fold it again. Cover and allow to rest about 15 minutes. Repeat this step 7 times.*** (Confused? Watch this video (original link (sadly gone) was http://www.howcast.com/videos/36228-How-To-Make-Puff-Pastry). But do come back here afterwards….)
- Once the pastry is completely formed: Lightly dust the counter and roll out the pastry to fit your pie plate. Use a fork to prick holes in the puff pastry shell before baking. Bake at 375F for about 10 minutes or when the pastry is puffed and beginning to turn gold. The pastry puffs dramatically. Use a fork to gently release some of the air and bake the crust a tiny bit longer. Set aside to cool as you make the filling.
- Filling: Wash leeks well and slice in coins. Put the coins into a bath of cold water and swish around. Any sand (there will be sand; leeks are notoriously sandy) will fall to the bottom of the container. Use a slotted spoon to remove the leeks and place in a colander to drain.
- Melt butter in a frying pan over medium high heat. When it starts to froth, add the leek coins and a little salt. Cook until they are soft and beginning to caramelize. Set aside.
- Lightly beat eggs. Stir in ricotta, oregano, most of the gouda and warm (not hot) leeks. Season with a little more salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper.
- Assembly: Pour the egg mixture into the partially baked pastry. Scatter extra gouda on top. Bake the pie at 350F for about 20 minutes or until the filling has set.
Allow the pie to sit for about 5 minutes before cutting. Dig in.Notes
Next time we make this, we plan to use Swiss cheese rather than gouda. The gouda was good but it got a little lost. We may also add some smokey ham as well. And maybe a little spinach. And….
* 1 litre is roughly equivalent to 1 quart.
»» edit 9 April 2010: It turns out that the salt is optional for making ricotta. And vinegar can be substituted for lemon juice to separate the milk. (Please see another great use for homemade ricotta: manicotti stuffed with spinach and ricotta)
** Half the people in our household like to drink whey and claim that it tastes wonderfully refreshing (not this half…).
*** As complicated as it may have sounded, puff pastry is very easy to make. However, if you don’t want to make it, of course, you can still make this pie using storebought puff pastry. It will still be darn good. Just try to buy puff pastry that has been made with butter. It tastes better than puff pastry made with shortening.
- other recipes and tips:
:: Caramelized Leek and Ricotta Pie
:: Savory Vegetable Ricotta Pies
:: Fine Cooking: Shortcut to Flaky Puff Pastry
:: A Lesson from Otago Polytechnic: Puff Pastry (video)
- recipes from OUR kitchen:
:: Mushroom, Ham, Onion, 2 Cheeses Quiche
:: Torte Verde (Spinach Pie)
:: other pastry recipes
:: recipes index
Hmmm, we already have our New Year’s Eve dinner planned but maybe this is what we should have for New Year’s Day!
How about you? When are you going to try it?
Some time ago, Ruth (Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments) created this event to urge herself (and everyone else) to actually make the several recipes bookmarked in various books, magazines and internet pages.
This is now the 35th session for Bookmarked Recipes! (I think.) In the roundup for Bookmarked Recipes 34, Ruth announced that she has changed her mind and she WILL continue the event. However, she would like to hand over most of the hosting duties to others. (I hope that there is a host for this week!) Whether or not, I hope you’ll see why I bookmarked the ricotta leek pie recipe. Perhaps you’ll want to bookmark it too and make your version.
For complete details on how to participate in bookmarked recipes, please read the following:
edit: Ruth has posted the roundup. Do take a look: