I’ve been meaning to share this recipe here on the blog for a long time. Oddly, I’d planned on making it this weekend – had all the ingredients in the fridge, waiting. But with the sad news this week, I wanted to make it so I could share it with you guys today.
This is one of the first desserts I made when learning to cook, The Sopranos Family Cookbook being one of the first cookbooks I owned. Needless to say, the show…and it’s anti-hero Tony Soprano, played by beloved James Gandolfini, hold a special place in my heart. Over the years there were so many great moments, and characters. Paulie Walnuts, Janice, Junior, Livia… I still find myself wondering what the characters would be up to today.
If anything, I know this ricotta pineapple pie would be in their lives. Carmella always made it when she wanted to “butter” someone up for a favor. The first time I made it I remember thinking that it was unlike anything I’d ever made before. The ricotta gives it such a unique texture and lightness, and not too sweet. And the pineapple topping is just the right amount of sweetness, with a hint of tart from the addition of fresh lemon juice.
I’ve modified a few things over the years. I like to use fresh pineapple instead of canned. I’ve found it has better flavor, and texture. Also, I use a blind-baked pie crust, as opposed to the graham cracker crust. It holds up better, making pretty slices possible.
1 (9-inch) pie shell, homemade or frozen
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 (15 oz) container ricotta
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
4 cups fresh pineapple, cubed (or a 20-oz can crushed pineapple)
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Pre-heat oven to 350.
If using fresh pineapple, place pineapple chunks in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse for about 10 – 1 second pulses. Set aside.
To make the filling, combine the sugar and cornstarch in stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn mixer on low to combine. Add the ricotta, eggs, heavy cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Carefully place into oven and bake for 50 minutes, until the pie is set around the edges but the center is still slightly jiggly. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.
To make the topping, drain the pineapple well, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the reserved pineapple juice and the lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring slightly, until thickened – about 1 minute. Add the pineapple. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Spread the pineapple mixture over the pie. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
Source: adapted from The Sopranos Family Cookbook