Monday, April 13, 2009

Great Grandma's Rice Pie Recipe for Easter

Growing up in an Italian family, Rice Pies were a traditional treat we thoroughly enjoyed every year- but strangely only once per year. Recipes for Rice Pie vary slightly by geographic area of Italy or by family tradition, but they always include the basics of white rice, sugar, ricotta cheese, milk and lemon. I can remember my great-grandmother making what seemed like dozens of her rice pies, one for every grandchild and their family. We would stop by her house sometime around Good Friday and pick up one of the treasured pies. After her passing, various members of the family continued the tradition within the family; my own mom made them a number of times as well. For some reason, it took me 41 years to make my own rice pies for Easter. I called my mom for the recipe, and she recounted how my great-grandmother explained the recipe from memory. Mom listened to her alternately use English and Italian to recite each ingredient and approximate quantities. You start by rinsing white rice- preferably soaking it overnight. Then partially cook it in water until it absorbs the water but is still somewhat hard.
then add COLD milk, sugar, cinnamon sticks and a whole lemon, cut into quarters. Cook until the rice has absorbed it. (While the rice is cooking, make the dough for the crust and chill so it is ready later on.)

Continue stirring the rice/milk/cinnamon/lemon mixture periodically on low heat so the milk doesn't burn. Once it is fully cooked, remove the lemons and cinnamon sticks and allow to cool.

In a separate bowl, mix the seven large eggs with the Ricotta cheese. Fold into the fully cooked rice.
Pour the combined egg/ricotta/rice mixture into the pie crust. Bake at 350-375 for at least one hour, but it will probably take an hour and 15 minutes total.

I had some left over dough to add strips on top of one of the two pies I made, but not enough for a criss-cross effect. They can be served room temperature the first day, after they have cooled down, but must remain refrigerated after that.
Great Grandma's Rice Pie Recipe (see instructions above)
Crust Dough:
1 1/2 cups flour
3 eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Rice Mixture:
1 lb white rice (first soak, then partially cook in water)
1 quart of milk
3 cinnamon sticks
1 whole lemon
4 tablespoons sugar
After the above is cooked until thick, chill.
Ricotta Mixture:
1 pound of Ricotta Cheese
7 Large Eggs
Add 2 more eggs and 3 tablespoons of sugar
Fold into the chilled cooked rice mixture
Bake for 75 minutes at 350-375
The nice thing about these rice pies is that they are very nourishing and can be enjoyed as a dessert, or even with coffee in the morning. I'm glad I made my rice pies for Easter this year. Even though I wasn't with my family, I had a taste of my childhood right here in Palm Springs. Thanks for the recipe, Mom, these are for great-grandma!
-Rick Rockhill


kenju said...

My Italian husband would undoubtedly love that!! Thanks for the recipe, Rick. Hope you had a good Easter.

Anonymous said...

Glad you first attempts at rice pies turned out well. Grandma would be proud!

Love, Mom

lime said...

that looks fantastic. i've never heard of them but i sure would like to try one

Diane J Standiford said...

Rice pie...must admit I never heard of that one. (My French roots are showing?)

A Lewis said...

WOW! It looks delicious.... and I've never heard of it before. Thanks for sharing! Thought of you this last week when I flew into/out of PSP.

Kathy said...

Wonderful! I printed the recipe and will try it. I make a ricotta pie for Easter, one that has a pasta frolla -- sweet crust. The Easter pies we made were also savory ones -- with sausage and rice. I tend toward the sweet ones, however!

Cheryl said...

My neighbor, not Italian, makes rice pie for Easter. It's wonderful, and even more special since it's a once a year occurrence. Kudos to you for continuing the family tradition.

Olivia said...

Rice Pie - oh my goodness me. That'll keep you on the ground all day I bet.

jackie said...

it looks and sounds like it is delicious. I'll have to try making that.

grace said...

I have never tasted or heard of it, but it sounds really delicious. thanks for sharing.

LSL said...

I've got to try this one! Happy Easter : )

C said...

Ooooh! Thanks for sharing! I'm always keen on trying out new recipes! I'm definitely going to have to give this one a go!

CJ/Rick said...

Mercy that sounds and looks delish.
Oh and you and Sheldon make a fine couple. What a handsome fella.


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