Slice of Lemon ricotta pie

The Best Lemon Ricotta Pie

  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 140 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian


The best Italian Lemon Ricotta Pie, with an easy to make sweet pastry dough and a filling full of flavor. A great recipe for Easter and a brunch table.



For the dough:

  • 2 1/4 cups (300g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (220g) unsalted butter, cold and in pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk

For the filling:

  • 1 pound whole milk ricotta (drained if it’s too watery)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 4 eggs, separated and at room tº
  • 1/4 cup (50g) cream
  • 1/4 cup (75g) sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 2 if not using marsala)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Marsala wine (optional)
  • Zest of 1 lemon


For the dough:

  1. In a food processor pulse a few time to mix flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Scatter butter pieces on top and mix until you have butter the size of peas.
  3. Add egg and yolk and process using on/off until it starts to come together. Don’t let it form a ball. It should come together when you pinch it with your fingers.
  4. Turn it onto the counter and press it together to form a flat disk. I put it inside a plastic bag and aid myself with the bag while pressing my knuckles until it comes together. That way I don’t touch the dough unnecessarily.
  5. Refrigerate for 1 hour and up to 2 days.
  6. Have ready a 9-inch pie pan.
  7. When ready to bake, roll it on a lightly floured counter until a few inches bigger than the pie plate.
  8. Carefully line the pan and pinch the edges. You might need to cut a few overhanging pieces.
  9. Prick the bottom and refrigerate or freeze (better).
  10. Preheat oven to 350ºF / 180ºC.

For the filling:

  1. Mix ricotta and gradually add sugar and flour until creamy. You can do this by hand, it just needs to be well integrated.
  2. Add egg yolks, cream, sour cream, marsala if using, vanilla and zest. Mix well.
  3. Beat the egg whites with the salt until firm peaks and add in 2 parts to the ricotta mixture.
  4. It should be integrated by don’t mix too much.
  5. Pour into the cold pie shell and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the filling is quite firm and golden.
  6. Let cool on wire rack.
  7. It can be kept at room tº or refrigerated.


Tips for making the pie dough:

  • Butter, have it cold and in pieces. This is very important so it mixes a bit with the flour but is not completely incorporated into it. Some pieces of butter the size of peas should remain in order to ensure flakiness when it is baked. I use a food processor for this part, but you can easily make it in a bowl with a dough cutter or use your hands, always being careful not to overwork the butter and heating it up too much (due to warm hands). If that happens, return the bowl as is to the fridge for 10 minutes, and then continue.
  • Don't overwork the dough after adding the flour. This is a critical step if you want a tender, light dough. Once the flour is added, don't overwork it, it doesn't need to be kneaded. It needs to be mixed until there are no visible streaks of flour.
  • Always let it rest in the fridge before rolling it. This step is absolutely essential. The dough, even if you didn't work it much when assembling it, will have developed some gluten (great for bread for example but not for doughs), so it needs to relax in the cold refrigerator before it is rolled. Otherwise, it will be difficult to stretch and will be too elastic, which will make it shrink as it bakes and be tough.

Flavorings: you can flavor with other extracts or liquors, such as almond, hazelnut or orange.

Keywords: Italian ricotta pie, ricotta pie