This is, indeed, a crowd pleaser! I love making appetizers that combine pastry, cheese and veggies. I am also a big fan of flexible recipes that can be made in individual portions or in a large batch if I am feeling lazy. So if it’s not quiche, my go-to appetizer is this gorgeous, picturesque tomato ricotta pie with pine nuts that redefines the expression made from scratch.
Let’s first start with the home-made ricotta. You can make ricotta and strain it for an hour. But I prefer making the ricotta the day before I intend to use it and strain it overnight for a perfectly thick and creamy consistency.
- 2 liters of full-fat milk
- 1 cup of cream
- 1/2 cup of vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
View this post on Instagram
- In a stainless-steel pot, pour the milk, the cream and the salt.
- Simmer until bubbles appear on the edges on the pot.
- Put the heat down and add the vinegar then whisk.
- Keep whisking as you watch the mix curdles.
- Keep whisking for about 10 minutes then take it off the heat.
- Let it cool down completely before straining.
- For straining, you will need a clean cheese cloth (I use a bag that I bought off Amazon), a stainless steel mesh strainer and a glass bowl.
- Pour the curdles onto the cheese cloth and you will be able to see the Whey pouring through the strainer to the glass bowl. You can freeze the whey and use later in other recipes.
- Place the cheese on the strainer and the glass bowl in the fridge and allow it to harden over night.
For the pie, here is the recipe for the classic Pate Brisee:
- 11/4 cups of flour + extra for rolling
- 1 stick of butter, cubed and chilled
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup of ice water
All ingredients need to be chilled beforehand.
- Throw everything in a food processor and pulse until you reach a sandy consistency.
- Slowly add the ice water while pulsing and and stop once the dough starts coming together.
- Using your hands, shape the dough into a disc and wrap it with a plastic wrap.
- Chill at least for an hour before rolling.
- Later, roll the dough on a floured surface and place in a 20 cm pie mold, preferably with a removable base.
- Using a knife. cut the extra dough from the edges and start crimping.
Start preparing the filling:
The ricotta that has been prepared the day before should be ready to use by then. You will only need to use half the amount.
View this post on Instagram
- About 11/2 cup of home-made ricotta
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- About 150 gms of cherry tomatoes, depending on the size
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- A drizzle of olive oil
- Salt flakes (optional)
- Mix the cheese and the basil in a bowl
- Add to the prepared pie shell and spread smoothly using an off-set spatula.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes into equal halves
- Place the tomatoes in eccentric circles, pushing down a little bit to secure them in place
- Sprinkle the pine nuts and drizzle the olive oil on the whole pie.
- Bake the pie in a pre-heated 200 °C oven for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden-brown.