I have so many sweet memories from my mother’s kitchen. At times her vaguely written recipes make it difficult to easily recreate but once I get started, memories begin to take over and the dishes come together almost magically. I can work my way around my kitchen by the aromas I remember, the sights of how a dish simmered, the feel of a ripe vegetable from my father’s garden or by the taste I recall of a perfectly cooked dish.
As I made this pie the other day, I caught myself remembering how I use to watch the pineapple sauce bubble and thicken in the saucepan. And as the aroma filled my kitchen it brought back even more memories. As a little girl, I thought of this pie more for an adult palate. What child wouldn’t grab for the cookie tray before a slice of fruit pie? I guess one good thing about growing older is developing wider interests in foods and flavors.
Ricotta is used in many Italian desserts; as in cannoli, one of my all time favorite desserts. The pie is light and just sweet enough with the pineapple topping. It is best made ahead like a cheesecake to allow time to chill and firm up nicely. Being that I have no children around, I added a shot of Liquor 43 to both the pie filling and topping. I may be grown up but I still like to have fun!
For the crust:
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
½ cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs
For the filling:
1 15 oz ricotta cheese, I used part skim
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon Liquor 43
For the topping:
1 20 oz can crushed pineapple in its own juice – drain well and reserve ½ cup liquid
2-3 tablespoons agave (add to taste)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Liquor 43, optional – if using reduce pineapple juice by 1 tablespoon
In a large mixing bowl, combine the filling ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared pan. Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until pie is set but center is still slightly jiggly. Cool on rack.
To make the topping: In a medium saucepan, add the well drained pineapple and remaining ingredients, except Liquor 43. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and gently cook stirring about 2 minutes until thicken. Remove from heat and stir in Liquor 43 if using. Allow to cool.
Spread topping over the pie. Chill several hours or overnight. Serves 8.