Nancy Ponzi’s Easter Ricotta Pie

Posted Fri, April 14, 2017 in All Posts

From Nancy Ponzi to You


Sometimes I think there must be as many variations to “classic” Italian dishes as there are cooks! The certainty is that each cook is adamant that her version is the correct one. This is our Nonna’s Easter Ricotta Pie, and as original or traditional as it may be, it’s essential at Ponzi Easter gatherings. Though Nonna called her creation, recalled from her childhood “pie” it’s not sweet or very rich and goes so perfectly with bright, lighter-styled Pinot Noir such as our Tavola bottling.


1 recipe pâté brisée/quiche dough - see recipe here.

1 lb. fresh ricotta, purchased or homemade

3 eggs, very fresh

1/2 C finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Cinnamon, to smell (about 1 T)

Black pepper, to smell but quite a lot (about 1 T)

Salt (more if the ricotta isn’t salted)


1. Prepare pâté brisée, wrap with wax paper or plastic wrap, and put in the fridge to chill.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta with 2 of the eggs, blending well. Mix in the grated cheese. Add cinnamon, little by little: the right amount is when you can just smell it. The spice is subtle, not like a cinnamon bun; however, too much is better than not enough. Grind in pepper—be generous, this flavoring will dominate. Add salt to taste.

3. Preheat oven to 400°F.

4. Place dough on a floured board and divide in half. Roll out into a circle about 3/8-inch thick. Place on a baking sheet lightly coated with olive oil.

5. Put the ricotta filling in the center of the dough, spreading it out to about 1 1/2 inches from the edges.

6. Roll the second half of the dough into a circle large enough to completely cover the filling. Place over the filling. Without pulling the dough tightly across the top (to avoid cracking), work around the edge, folding the bottom layer of dough over the top. Pinch the dough all around to seal, and make a decorative edge.

7. Whisk the remaining egg with a touch of water in a cup. Brush this egg wash over the entire top of the pie. Make six holes to release steam. We were taught to do this with Nonna’s thimble (we actually use hers each year to make the pies), but you can make holes with a toothpick, or cut tiny crosses with the tip of a sharp knife.

8. Bake about 35 minutes or until golden-brown—the cheese filling needs to set, but over baking will make it tough. Remove the pie from the oven and cool on a board.

9. Serve in wedges on dessert plates with forks—and wine.


While this pie is specific to Easter Sunday, we also enjoy it as a light dinner entrée with salad and raw vegetables, or small slices as a featured antipasto.

Download the recipe here.