This year for Easter, I made an Italian Easter rice pie. I’ve written before about the Italian Easter pies, the pizza chiena, or pizza rustica, and the pastiera, or pizza grano. This is a variation of the pizza grano. The pizza grano is a Neapolitan wheat pie served at Easter. My family traditionally made this pie at Easter time. Part of my dad’s family is from the area near Benevento, Italy, and there they make a variation with rice instead of wheat. So he grew up with both the wheat and rice pies at Easter.
I wanted to be ambitious this Easter/Lent and make a lot more, but I haven’t had the time. I had wanted to make hot cross buns, but instead just got some yummy ones from a bakery. I’m also going to make a pizza chiena. My grandma has a variation of the pizza chiena that is vegetarian, using mashed potatoes. I don’t think I will be making that one this year though, as I don’t have time. Now, I do have a homemade crust recipe, but I can’t publish it or else I may get the malocchio from my aunt.
Italian Easter Rice Pie
1 1/2 cups whole milk or 1 cup skim/1/2% milk and 1/2 cup light cream/half and half
1/2 cup rice
1 cup sugar
1 pound ricotta (I use Calabro brand.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz. candied citron (You can find this at any Italian specialty shop like Di Palo’s or order it online.)
1 deep dish frozen pie crust
1 regular frozen pie crust
Cook rice according to package directions (with water). Add milk and cook on low until milk is absorbed. Cool. Beat eggs and beat in sugar. Add ricotta, orange blossom water, vanilla and citron and stir. Put into deep dish pie crust and top with top crust. (I used a regular pie crust for the top and cut strips with a pastry cutter.) Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Cool and serve.