There’s a lot of winter blues going on about this time of year. On the west coast, we don’t have quite the long and cold winters as the east coast, but we look forward to spring and summer nonetheless.
Why not bring a little sunshine into the kitchen with an orange crostata?
Oranges are in season and they brighten up a meal with their flavor and color. I do miss the orange trees I had when we lived in California. I remember when we moved to Oregon in January 2006, we picked as many oranges from our trees as we could eat on the trip, knowing that would be the last we’d enjoy of our homegrown oranges.
I love blood oranges, but I wasn’t able to find any at our local stores when I made this recipe in February, so I used Cara Cara oranges instead which have pinker meat to them than a naval orange and a delightfully delicious flavor.
The recipe also needs ricotta cheese. I substituted my homemade ricotta for store-bought ricotta, but using your favorite brand of ricotta will work just as well, even mascarpone cheese can be used in place of ricotta.
Last, but not least, a pie crust is a base for this crostata. I included “made from scratch” pie crust ingredients and instructions, although I cheated and used a store-bought pre-made crust.
I really like this recipe. Three main ingredients: ricotta, oranges, pie crust along with a bit of sugar, and almond extract go together quickly and result in a tasty pie. Impressive looking for a light dessert that’s great for any occasion.
Yields 1 crostata
- For the filling:
- 4-5 Cara Cara or blood oranges
- 8 ounces ricotta
- 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 egg
- Sugar to sprinkle on crust before baking
- Pie Dough:
- Option 1: Pre-made pie dough from the grocery store
- Option 2: Made from scratch pie dough - ingredients and instructions below
- Prepare the filling:
- Using a sharp knife, cut a small slice off the top and bottom of the orange to flatten the ends. Cut down the sides of the oranges, removing the skin and white pith. Slice the oranges crosswise into thin wheels. Remove any seeds. Reserve.
- In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta, sugar and almond extract until blended.
- Roll out the dough to form a large circle, about ¼ inch thick.
- Using the rolling pin, carefully transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper. Spread the ricotta filling on top of the dough, leaving a border. Arrange the sliced oranges on top of the filling.
- Carefully fold over the edges of the dough over the filling. Slip the crostata onto a baking sheet and place in freezer for about thirty minutes. (This firms up the dough.)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the crostata from the freezer. Beat the egg and brush the edges of the crostata with the egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar.
- Place in the oven and bake until the edges are golden, about 40-45 minutes.
If you want to make the pie dough from scratch:
For the pastry:
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• Pinch salt
• 1 ½ sticks cold butter, cubed
• A few tablespoons ice cold water
1. Mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
2. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in the butter until the dough is crumbly with the butter being about the size of peas.
3. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with about 1 tablespoon cold water.
4. Using your hands, mix until the dough just comes together.
5. Add more water if still dry but be careful not to knead the dough too much.
6. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
7. Roll into round pie shape about 1/8" thick.
NOTE: You could use a pre-made pie dough from the market instead of making your own.
This orange ricotta crostata sure brightened up a winter day!