Fresh Ricotta Pastries

Published May 14, 2013. Comments

Notes

I've been missing for about 3 weeks. I still feel a little lost. I think I became so busy with all my jobs that I didn't stop to rest. Then my stove broke. I was attempting to make a syrup out of Pinot Noir wine but when I went to turn the heat down I heard a loud *Pop!* and the power went out. I went outside to flip the breaker back on, but my stove alas never made it. The oven was okay because my cooktop and the oven are completely on separate walls, but it looked like I was without a stove for at least a week. I was beside myself, wondering what I was going to do without a stove. I texted one of my friends and asked him, "My stove broke. What do you call a chef without a stove?" His reply, "A pastry chef."

My stove is fixed but I still feel a little lost. But, it's true. No matter what happens, I will always be a pastry chef. Always. It was one of those rare moments when I could sit down in my armchair and pick up one of the gazillion food magazines I subscribe to and read it, that I came upon this recipe from the March/April 2013 La Cucina Italiana magazine. I tested the recipe. I had to make adjustments. Maybe their large eggs were bigger than my large eggs, so I had to add a little ice water to bring my dough together. There wasn't enough ricotta cheese filling, so I made it a whole pound of whole milk ricotta cheese, increased the sugar to 1/4 cup, increased the eggs to 3, and added more lemon zest and a little bit of lemon juice too....and it came out beautifully. If you beat your egg whites properly to stiff peaks (where legend says that if you can turn the bowl over on your head and the whites don't fall on you), you get a fluffy souffle-like ricotta cheesy filling that will make you think you've bitten into a ricotta cheese cloud. And I don't mind being lost on a cheese cloud. 

Fresh Ricotta Pastries

Ingredients

Dough

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup ice water

Filling

1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese

3 large eggs separated

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Unsalted butter for greasing muffin tin

Confectioner’s (Powdered) Sugar for dusting

Special Equipment: 12 (1/2 cup) cups muffin tin

Directions

For Dough: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Make a hole in the middle and add your 2 eggs and olive oil. Using a fork, gently break up the yolks and slowly incorporate the flour mixture from the inside rim of the well until the liquid is absorbed. Using your hands, knead the dough until it forms a mass. There will be some dough left in the bowl. If the mixture seems too dry, add water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. Dump the dough ball and any left over flour onto a clean work surface, dusted with flour, and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover with a moist kitchen towel and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This is important so that the glutens are nice and relaxed by the time you’re ready to roll out the dough. Meanwhile, make the filling.

For the Filling: In a large bowl, whisk together cheese, egg yolks, sugar and the lemon zest until smooth. In another bowl or in a stand mixer, beat the egg whites to a stiff peak. Fold half the egg whites into the cheese mixture then fold in the last half.

Heat your oven to 375°F  with rack in the middle. Grease 8 muffin cups with butter.

Roll out the dough to a 14-in square, about 2 millimeters thick. Use a fluted pastry wheel to cut out 8 4-inch squares from the dough; discard the remaining dough. Fit the squares into the prepared muffin cups by pressing into the cups and letting the corners overlap the edges of the pan. Using a 2 oz scooper, scoop one scoop into each prepared cup then fold the dough corners over the filling.

Bake rotating once, for 25 to 30 minutes. Let it cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then remove them from the cups by slowly rotating then lifting each pastry out and letting it cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or room temperature, dusted with confectioner’s sugar.