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Note: The traditional ricotta pie is flavored with anisette or anise seeds and is usually prepared without the cherries or the chocolate, but you may optionally add these for a festive touch, if desired.
2 tablespoons Crisco
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg yolk, to spread on lattice strips
3 pounds ricotta
3/4 cup sugar
2 or 3 tbsp. anisette (optional, but recommended)
1 jar 10 ounce maraschino cherries, chopped
4 eggs, beaten
3 bars milk chocolate, diced (optional)
To make pastry, cream together Crisco and sugar, add beaten eggs, sifted flour and baking powder. Mix well and knead. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let stand for 2 hours. This is enough pastry for one bottom shell and the lattice strips for the top.
To make the filling, mix ricotta, sugar, beaten eggs, cherries, chocolate (if using).
Assembling: Divide pie crust into two portions, with one portion being slightly larger (for the bottom crust). Roll out crust on a lightly floured surface and fit loosely into a deep 9 inch pie dish. Add filling to pie shell and level off.
Cut second portion of pastry into long lattice strips and arrange by interleaving the strips into a lattice pattern. Brush the pastry with lightly beaten egg yolk.
Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for approximately one hour.
When pie has cooled, dust top generously with confectioners sugar.
Cooks Note: For an extra special touch, store anise seed in a jar of confectioners sugar for at least 1 month. This adds a wonderful flavor to many Italian baked desserts.
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