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Baked Ricotta, Orange Blossom and Date Pie

A naturally sweet and gorgeously decorated pie.
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Serves   8
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Phoebe Wood is back with delicious. as Food Director after a three year hiatus that included a sojourn in New York, a stint on Masterchef TV and several years as Food Editor at SBS Feast magazine.

After years in hospitality working at celebrated Sydney restaurants such as Spice Temple, Sails on Lavender Bay and Duke, Phoebe began her career in food publishing in 2009 as delicious. Food Assistant. After working her way up to Assistant Food Editor at delicious., Phoebe left Sydney to embark on a holiday in New York, with the aim of eating a doughnut a day and researching her cookbook on American pie. She returned to Australia to work in the MasterChef Australia test kitchen, then took on the role of Food Editor at SBS Feast magazine, where she was able to realise her global experiences and appreciation of food.

Now she has come full circle to return to delicious. creating impressive yet effortless recipes for our print and online audience, be it entertaining feasts, quick fast family dinners and wicked cakes and pies. An avid baker, Phoebe found a new love for a classic American pie crust in the States and savours the challenge of turning whatever is in her fridge into an artful and beautiful cake. Follow @phoeberosewood for regular updates from her kitchen.

 


This pie is very close to being my absolute favourite in the book. I love the classic Middle Eastern pairing of orange blossom and dates. There is a natural sweetness to the dates that means the pie filling doesn’t need to be overly sweet. I also love the pattern we created on top of the pie. We had seen a photo of a cheesecake a while ago, which at first glance looked as though its filling had been piped into the pastry case in a circular fashion and then baked to create a beautiful tan-brown top on it. Then we realised it wasn’t piping that had created the pattern but rather turning the cheesecake upside down straight out of the oven onto a circular wire rack to cool. We couldn’t turn our pie upside down because of the biscuit crumbs, so we decided to put a wire rack on top of the pie and weigh it down to create its distinct criss-cross pattern. Of course, this is not an essential step in the recipe but I think it creates such a visual talking point you’d be crazy not to.

Ingredients

  • 300 g (10½ oz) shortbread biscuits (cookies)
  • 100 g (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, melted then cooled
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) firm fresh ricotta cheese
  • 250 g (9 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 170 g (6 oz/¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons orange blossom water
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 8 dates, pitted and chopped

Method

  1. Pulse the biscuits in a food processor to fine crumbs. Add the butter and pulse again to combine.
  2. Press the crumb mixture into the base and side of a 17 cm (6¾ in) pie dish. Chill while you make the filling.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
  4. In the Bakery Boss attach the scraper beat and “Lightly Mix” (speed 4) the cream cheese until smooth. Add the ricotta and sugar and “Lightly Mix” until smooth. 
  5. Add the eggs, orange blossom water and vanilla and continue to “Lightly Mix” for a minute or until well combined. 
  6. Scatter the dates over the chilled biscuit base, then spread the ricotta mixture over the top. Bake for 50 minutes or until a dark golden colour and firm to the touch. Turn off the oven and leave to cool in the oven for 30 minutes with the door ajar.
  7. Remove from the oven, and press a wire rack firmly over the cake while it is still warm to make indentations on the surface. Weigh it down with a tin or your tub of baking beads. Leave to cool to room temperature, and then chill for 2 hours or until cold.

The photograph and recipe was contributed to Food Thinkers by Phoebe Wood .

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Guest Tuesday, 22 October 2019
 
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