Lemon Ricotta Pies

Lemon Ricotta Pies

makes 8 pastries

DOUGH
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Fine sea salt
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

FILLING
3/4 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
1 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Unsalted butter for greasing muffin tin
Confectioners sugar for dusting

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: a nonstick muffin tin with 12 (1/2-cup) cups

Instructions
For Dough: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and pinch salt. Mound flour mixture, then form a well in center. Add eggs and oil to the well. Using a fork, gently break up yolks and slowly incorporate flour from the inside rim of the well until liquid is absorbed (about half of the flour will be incorporated), then knead in bowl until dough forms a mostly complete mass.

Transfer dough and any flour in bowl to a clean work surface to knead together until smooth, about 5 minutes. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make filling.

For Filling: In a large bowl, whisk together cheese, egg yolks, granulated sugar and zest until smooth. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. In two additions, fold whites into cheese mixture.

Heat oven to 375º with rack in the middle. Grease 8 muffin cups with butter.

Roll out dough to a 14-inch square, 2 millimeters thick. Using a fluted pastry 
wheel, cut out 8 (4-inch) squares from dough; discard excess dough. Fit squares into prepared muffin cups, pressing centers into cups and letting corners of pastry overlap edges of pan. Divide filling among dough-lined cups, then fold dough corners over filling.

Bake, rotating once, until pastries are puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack, 10 minutes. Gently twist pastries to release from cups. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusting with confectioners sugar just before serving.

(THIS RECIPE IS BASED ON ONE FOUND IN LA CUCINA ITALIANA MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL ISSUE)