- 2 1/2 cup flour (preferably pastry flour, but you can use all-purpose)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 ounce butter, softened at room temperature and cut into small pieces
- 1 egg plus one yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese, drained in a colander lined with cheesecloth
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract or Rum
- 1/2 cup raisins, plumped in warm water and drained
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- grated zest of one lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- One more egg white to "shine" the top
After sifting the flour, put it in a food processor. Add the sugar, salt and blend. Add the butter and incorporate it by pulsing it in until the mixture reaches a crumbly texture, At this point, add the egg and egg yolk, and the vanilla extract, and process into a smooth dough (you can also do all this by hand, of course).
Wrap the dough with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for one hour.
For the filling, place the ricotta cheese, sugar, and egg yolks in a bowl or food processor and blend them into a smooth, creamy mixture. Stir in the raisins and pine nuts.
In a clean bowl, with a clean mixer or whisk, beat the reserved egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold them into the ricotta mixture using an upward motion.
Preheat your oven to 375 F and butter a 9" or 10“ pan and dust it with flour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and set aside one third. Roll out the remaining 2/3 with a rolling pin. Place the dough disc over the prepared pan, covering the bottom and sides and trimming around the edges.
Pinch some holes into the surface with a fork or a toothpick to prevent the dough from puffing while baking. Pour in all the ricotta mixture and level with a spatula.
Roll the remaining 1/3 of the dough and cut it into strips, which you will place on top of the cake in a diamond pattern.
Beat an egg white with a couple of tablespoons of milk or water, and use it to brush the dough strips on the top of the cake (this will give it shine).
Bake for about 40 minutes. Let the cake cool on a rack before you serve it warm, at room temperature, or cool.