Happy Easter! (I made you a pie.)

Happy Easter!

 

While this is not a holiday that we observe in our home, I do sometimes like to add a culinary nod to The Man's heritage. However, that was usually ham and even in my meat-eating days that was a product I steered away from. 

But there are other options. My mother would often buy her beloved son-in-law some sort of chocolate product in the shape of a rabbit if she was in town. I had plans to make Anna Gentile's Ricotta Pie this weekend, but I had to rethink things. Because vegan.

As always, when attempting to come up with recipes for Christian holidays, I veer Italian. This Sunday is no exception as I am attempting a vegan version of this Neapolitan classic. As I perused the veg-web, I came across Bryanna Clark Grogan's Pastiera Napolitana (a Neopolitan Easter Grain and "Ricotta" Pie).  This classic dish sometimes has barley, sometimes orzo, and often rice as its grainy filler. And I love myself some rice pudding with a sweet ricotta. Bryanna's recipe over at vegsource.com has a lovely top and bottom crust, which I am not attempting today. Because lazy.

Here's what we did:

Ingredients for Filling: 

Rice:

1 cup soy creamer

1 cup almond milk (you could use soy)

1 1/4 cups Arborio (or other medium grain) white rice

2 tablespoons organic unbleached granulated sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

"Ricotta" Mixture: 

3 packages medium-firm tofu, drained and crumbled 

1 1/2 cups organic unbleached granulated sugar 

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons orange flower water (optional, but traditional)

2 tablespoons finely-grated organic orange zest

2 tablespoons finely-grated organic lemon zest

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon sherry or Marsala

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon xanthum gum (Bryanna calls for agar powder, which I keep forgetting to buy)

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pie crust:

Optional work here. I bought two pre-made crusts, but I think in the future that the vegan hamantaschen dough would make a hell of a pastry crust.

Instructions:

  1. For the rice: Bring milk and creamer to boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in rice, sugar, vanilla and salt. Stir, move to low heat, and cover, cooking for about 35 minutes--until milk has been absorbed. This should not be runny.
  2. For the "ricotta": Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender (like a Vitamix) until silky-smooth.
  3. When the rice has cooled, combine with ricotta in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°.
  5. Fill pie crusts and bake for 45 minutes.*
  6. Cool on racks for several hours and refrigerate until serving time.
 Silky smooth "ricotta"!

Silky smooth "ricotta"!

*This recipe made a little more than needed for two standard pie crusts. Might I suggest some ricotta fritters with the leftover filling?

 Final Product!

Final Product!