Angel Hair Pasta and Almond Pie

Torta Ricciolina

This is a recipe I learned from Margherita Simili, a good friend and award winning baker from Bologna. The pie is intended to resemble noodles with Bolognese meat sauce. The cocoa covered almond mixture represents the chunks of meat. The dessert is not simply an interesting conversation piece but an excellent moist pie. The original recipe calls for candied citron, which I personally have never been very fond of, so I’ve substituted homemade candied oranges which I find more appealing.

Total Time from Start to Finish: 3 hours and 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the Candied Oranges

  • 1 unpeeled orange, ends removed, cut in thin crosswise slices with the seeds removed
  • cup granulated sugar plus more as needed

For the Pie Crust

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • cup confectioner’s sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces and softened to room temperature

    For the Filling

  • 7 ounces blanched almonds
  • 9 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened, high quality cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • Pasta dough made with 2 eggs and 1 ½ cups flour
  • 8 tablespoons. butter
  • ¼ cup dark rum

Method

  1. Make the candied oranges. Put the orange slices, the cup of sugar and ¼ cup water in a skillet large enough to accommodate them with minimum overlapping and place over medium low heat. Cook until the pith of the orange becomes translucent and tender, adding more water if necessary, about 15 to 20 minutes. When the oranges are done, continue cooking until all the water has evaporated and the sugar has formed a thick syrup coating the orange slices and giving them a glossy look. Choose a plate large enough to fit all the orange slices without overlapping (use 2 plates if necessary). Cover the plate with sugar and lay the slices over the sugar. Sprinkle more sugar over the slices and allow to cool completely. The candied oranges may be prepared several days ahead of time and refrigerated.
  2. Make the pie crust dough. Mix the flour, confectioner’s sugar and a tiny pinch of salt and make a well with the mixture on a counter. Put the egg yolks and the butter in the center. Mix with your hands and work in the flour mixture, kneading all the ingredients into a smooth uniform ball of dough. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  3. Make the filling. Put the almonds, candied oranges and the granulated sugar in a food processor and chop to a medium fine consistency. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the cocoa and lemon peel. Mix well.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  5. Lightly smear an 8” spring form pan with butter, dust it with flour and tap it upside down to remove any excess flour.
  6. Take the pie crust dough out of the refrigerator and roll it out on a counter dusted with flour to a round sheet approximately ¼" thick. Using the rolling pin lift the sheet from the counter onto the springform pan letting it drape over the bottom and the sides. Trim the edges so that they are even with the sides of the pan.
  7. Roll out the pasta dough the usual way until it is very thin. When it is dry enough, cut by hand into the narrowest possible noodles. Fluff up the noodles to prevent them from sticking and proceed quickly to the next steps before the pasta has a chance to dry out completely.
  8. Put of the pasta in the pan taking care to leave it fluffy. Set aside cup of the almond mixture and sprinkle half of the rest over the pasta. Dot with 2 tablespoons of the butter. Put another ⅓ of the pasta over it, sprinkle the other half of the almond mixture on top and dot with 2 more Tbs. of butter. Add the remaining pasta, sprinkle the cup of almond mixture over it and dot with the remaining 4 tablespoons butter.
  9. Place the pie on the upper rack of the oven. After 15 minutes remove it from the oven and cover with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Put it back in the oven and bake for 25 more minutes. Take it out of the oven, remove the paper or foil and immediately sprinkle with the rum. Let it cool completely before serving. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

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