Rome is an incredible city that played a huge role in the shaping of our world as we know it. Founded in 753 BCE, the city would go on to evolve into an empire spanning much of the known world. This sphere of influence means Rome practically shaped our modern society. There’s a reason it’s called the Eternal City; no matter how many empires of have come and collapsed, Rome continues to exist. So, the city is filled to the brim with historic wonders and ruins resulting from eons of human activity. Everyone knows Rome and everyone wants to visit the city at some point in their life. My favorite part is the food and we are going to discuss a certain Ricotta Pie soon!
A little chat, a lot of adventure!
During my visit to Rome, I met lots of friendly people who were more than willing to chat about why they love their city, as well as point me in the right direction to find some hidden treasures. The ability to strike up a conversation with strangers can really come into play when you travel. For instance, because I found the courage to chat with people, I discovered some Roman ruins not on the tourist radar, an incredible pizza joint located in a movie-perfect Italian setting, and a wonderful dinner of rabbit in what appeared to be a grandmother’s basement. A simple chat can really change your experience as you travel, so don’t be afraid to say hello to people.
My favorite hidden treasure was a Jewish bakery I learned about by chatting with an elderly woman in the park near my hotel. She explained to me if I wanted to get a taste of Rome, I needed to head to a bakery called Pasticceria “Boccione” Limentani. It’s located in Rome’s Old Ghetto and getting there was half the adventure. I decided to take a bus to the ghetto which was a bit crazy. The bus sped along the narrow streets of the city rocking passengers back and forth like a ship being tossed on the sea. When I finally got to my stop, I was pretty happy to get off the bus. I walked up and down Via Portico d’Ottavia a few times looking for the bakery but couldn’t find it. Suddenly, the heavenly scent of baked goods grabbed my attention and I followed it. Your nose will lead the way when you look for this bakery because the business is pretty unassuming.
The bakery isn’t over the top or anything. In fact, it’s rather cramped and you can definitely feel the heat from their ovens as soon as you walk through the front door. Looking around, you’ll see some newspaper clippings on the walls, a collection box for an Israeli charity, and a Hebrew copy of the Declaration of the State of Israel. There are also glass shelves for displaying baked good but if you want to have options at this bakery, you need to get their fairly early. It usually sells out of goods by mid-morning because they are that delicious. Known by locals as il forno del ghetto, the bakery boast only a few delicious treats including four varieties of cookies and crostata (Italian tart of pie). The pie is what I came for and it did not disappoint.
Pasticceria Limentani’s ricotta pie comes in a few flavors including ricotta e visciole (ricotta and cherry), ricotta e cioccolato (ricotta and chocolate), and mandorla e visciole (almond paste and cherry). You can buy individual slices of each and the equivalent of a whole crostata will cost about 18 euro. I chose ricotta and chocolate which was definitely a good decision. It’s, honestly, one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. It’s sweet and slightly creamy and just a pleasure to eat. Once I’d purchased my slice of pie, I took a little walk through the ghetto and was greeted by a number of beautiful sites. I believe the views and the atmosphere only added to my ricotta pie experience.
To Find the Bakery…
The bakery is located at Via Portico D’Ottavia, 1 in Rome. The phone number for the bakery is 39-06-687-8637. You should note the bakery is closed on Jewish high holidays, Friday afternoons, Saturdays, the last three weeks in August, and between 2 and 4 p.m. during the summer.
You don’t need to travel all the way to Rome to have a slice of ricotta pie. Sure, that would be the ideal situation but it isn’t always possible. So, I managed to get a recipe for ricotta pie which you can make at home. I know it will not be exactly like the pie made by the ladies at Pasticceria Limentani but it will still be absolutely delicious.
Sweet Ricotta Pie
Servings: 24 servings
Time: 3 hours
4 cups of all-purpose flower
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup of while sugar
1/2 cup of shortening, chilled
1 tablespoon shortening, chilled
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3 pounds of ricotta cheese
1/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease two deep-dish pie plates.
For the Dough:
Combine the flour, baking powder, and 1 cup sugar together. Cut in 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in 4 beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Divide dough into 4 balls, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
For the Filling:
Beat the 12 eggs, 2 cups sugar and vanilla extract together in a large bowl. Stir in the ricotta cheese and the chocolate chips, if using. Set aside.
Roll out 2 of the balls to fit into the pie pans. Do not make the crust too thick, as it will expand during cooking. Do not flute the edges of the dough. Roll out the other 2 balls of dough and cut each into 8 narrow strips for the top of the crust. (Alternately, you can use cookie cutters and place the cutouts on the top of the pies.)
Pour the ricotta filling evenly into the pie crusts. Top each pie with 8 narrow strips of dough or cookie cut-outs. Brush top of pie with milk for shine, if desired. Place foil on the edge of crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes; remove foil. Rotate pies on the rack so they will bake evenly. Continue to bake until a knife inserted in the center of each pie comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes more. Cool completely on wire racks. Refrigerate until serving.
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