Pizza di Ricotta alla Grottese

Ricotta Cheesecake from Grottaminarda

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Preparation info

  • Makes

    10 to 12

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Great Italian Desserts

By Nick Malgieri

Published 1990

  • About

This is the traditional sweet ricotta pastry from Grottaminarda, the village of my mother’s family, near Avellino and Benevento in southern Italy. Though it is normally an Easter dessert, pizza di ricotta is made on special occasions throughout the year. Feel free to vary the flavoring of the filling. Some prefer to leave out the anisette; other add toasted, slivered almonds or chopped chocolate.


    Pasta Frolla

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 10 tablespoons ( sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons milk or water

    Ricotta Filling

  • pounds whole-milk ricotta, commercial or homemade
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon anisette
  • 3 tablespoons candied citron, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg
  • Pinch salt


For the pasta frolla, combine the dry ingredients and mix well. Rub in the butter until it is absorbed, making sure the mixture remains cool and powdery and does not become pasty. Beat the egg with the milk or water and stir in with a fork. Continue stirring until the dough holds together, then knead briefly, just until smooth. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or until firm.

For the ricotta filling, press the ricotta through a fine sieve into a mixing bowl or puree it in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Stir in the sugar, then the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla, anisette, citron, and ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon, being careful not to overmix.

Butter a 9-inch cake pan that is 2 inches deep. To assemble, cut off one-third of the pasta frolla and reserve. Roll the rest of the dough into a 14-inch disk and line the prepared pan with it. Allow the dough to hang over the edge of the pan. Pour in the ricotta filling and sprinkle it with the remaining ½ teaspoon of cinnamon.

Roll out the reserved dough into a 10-inch square. Cut it into ten 1-inch-wide strips. For the egg wash, beat the egg with the salt, and paint the strips with it. Moisten the rim of the dough on the pan with the egg wash, and attach 5 strips in each direction, pressing the edges of the strips lightly onto the rim and forming a diagonal lattice. Trim the edges of the dough so they are even with the top of the pan and push the dough off the top rim of the pan so that it rests completely within the pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until the filling is set and the pastry is a light gold. Cool in the pan before unmolding. To unmold, invert onto a flat plate, lift off the pan, replace the pan with another plate or platter, and then reinvert so that the pizza is right side up. Serve the pizza at room temperature.

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