In years-gone-by, I could always count on two food traditions on Easter Day: my mom’s braided Easter bread and a nice Italian cheesecake for dessert – made with ricotta, of course, instead of other cheeses. In Italian, we call it pizza di ricotta – ricotta pie.
The braided bread tradition faded years ago – I can’t say why – but when I walked into my favorite local Italian bread store last weekend and saw them on the counter, I knew I had to order one for the holiday ahead. As for the pizza di ricotta, it continues to grace our Easter table every year.
Traditional ricotta pie is made by mixing ricotta, sugar, cream, lemon juice, baking powder, anisette, and candied citron if desired, and baking it all in a flavored crust. But I was never a fan of the citron or the crust, which was always gushy from the water content of the ricotta. Thankfully, many years ago, my Aunt Ann offered a recipe for a no-crust/no-citron pizza di ricotta.
You may remember Aunt Ann from my second post of this blog. To remind you:
“…she’s the one who cooks furiously and always has something ready to go in the freezer for when 30 people just happen to drop by on a Sunday afternoon. You can find a seven-course meal in her freezer, and you’ll enjoy every bite of it!”
She is the oldest of my mother’s two younger sisters, she is my godmother … and she is a home-taught cook extraordinaire. Did I mention she baked all the Italian cookies for my wedding? Enough to feed 100? She is a good soul and has been a fantastic godmother to me throughout my 45 years. Oh, and look, she’s beautiful too.
I do love tradition, there is no doubt. But even more fun is starting new ones for our children. My friend Stephanie, over at Conversations from the Cul-de-Sac, posed this question in a post last week: “Does everyone put a new swim suit in their kid's Easter baskets or is it just me?” It’s a tradition her mom started and Steph has continued for her beautiful children. Isn’t that just a great idea? Perhaps that is where some traditions originate – from our friends who do cool things.
Other traditions, no doubt, are the result of practicality. For example, several years ago, my nephew and his family came for Easter with their three children. Instead of putting together three separate baskets, I “thought outside the Easter box” and purchased a spring-themed piñata for the kids to break … with candy to share. And they seemed to enjoy it. So last year when our friends and their children joined us for Easter, I did it again! It was at that point that I decided to officially claim it a Boyer Easter tradition … one we will continue each year for our children … and someday for our grandchildren.
We are headed to my brother’s house for Easter this year, and with our new Boyer tradition in mind, the first thing I asked was: “Can I bring the piñata?” My sister-in-law, being a good sport, quickly agreed. In fact … I just got an idea: I’m going to fill the piñata with extra candy – Italian candy that only the adults will like – and bring enough bags for all of us. What fun that will be!!
Easter bread, pizza di ricotta, piñata … salud to traditions old and new, my friends, and Buona Pasqua!
No-Crust Pizza di Ricotta
(Click here to view
and print recipe)