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If I could go back into the past to have a conversation with my paternal grandmother my first question would be " Are you sure that there is no oil in your ricotta crostata dough?".

A few years ago my sister had the forward-thinking idea of writing down the most iconic of my grandmother’s recipes as she dictated them to her. Those green pages are now very precious to me since they represent the only way to make recipes that have the flavor of my grandma cuisine. 

For those who doesn't speak Italian or need help in deciphering my sister's calligraphy, which by the way is quite impossible to read, it says :

' Buitoni short crust pastry (a very popular Italian brand) or if you make it (the crust) by your self : 200 gr of flour, 150 gr of sugar, 1 whole egg, lemon zest. Knead and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes' 

I made this recipes many times and I'm sure there is something missing: fat. The absence of butter or oil makes the crust very dry and hard and that was not how I remember was supposed to be. So I decided to add oil at the ingredients and one more egg and It definitely come out much better! 

Ingredients :

For the dough :

2 eggs 

zest of one lemon

100 gr /3.5 oz sugar

80 gr/ 1/3 cup + teaspoons canola oil, or any other neutral oil.

8 gr/ 1/2 table spoon baking powder

320 gr/ 11 oz flour 


For the filling :

430 gr/ 15 oz  of the best ricotta cheese you can find. I use the Bel Gioiso brand.

3 table spoons of sugar

1 egg

zest of 1 lemon


Instructions :

Preheat the oven to 360F. Start by making your dough. The nice thing is that since this is made with vegetable oil instead of butter it can be used straight away because it doesn't require any resting time.

In a bowl crack the eggs, add the lemon zest, sugar, oil, baking powder and whisk the mixture. Add the flour little by little stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the dough starts coming together you can transfer it on a working surface or a wooden board and knead until it's not sticky anymore (you might need to add a little bit more of flour).

Roll 2/3 of the dough on parchment paper into a circular shape, 1/8 of an inch thick. Place it in a rounded baking dish or a tart pan, I use one 10 inches wide and 3/4 of an inch deep, and with a fork puncture the surface about every 2 inches, to avoid bubbles during baking. 

In a bowl mix the ricotta, sugar, egg and lemon zest. Pour it on your pan and spread evenly with a spatula of the back of a spoon. 

Roll the other 1/3 of dough 1/8 of an inch thick and cut it with a knife or a pastry wheel in strips 3/4 of an inch wide. You want to lay them down in a grid shape, starting with the vertical and then horizontal. Press the edge of the strips gently into the side of the crostata. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes in the oven or until the edges are golden but not brown. You can also stick a knife in the middle ans see if it comes out clean.


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Created: October 15, 2018

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