For Easter we make the same meal every year, but it’s still a big ordeal to come up with the grocery list. You would think I’d have a master list by now. Instead, every year is like the first time making Easter dinner. It’s part charming and part ridiculous as my mom and I debate what exactly we did last year. It’s starting to seem like the forgetfulness is as mush a tradition as the dishes we serve on repeat year after year.
But why tradition?
Traditions are comforting. They help us function. They keep time and hold our place in the world. I’m not a creature of habit, but I cling to many of my trusted traditions. They create balance while our lives inevitably change. This is reason enough for me to spend days making the same foods every year.
Still I was hesitant to share this recipe today. I know that Easter coincides with Passover this year, and I don’t think a flour crust would be acceptable. Since I’m lacking in Jewish traditions, I consulted some trusted friends. I learned from a good source that you can substitute flour with matzoh cake meal. I hope that helps make this dessert more inclusive.
At an Italian table on Easter Sunday the meal is rich, fatty and full of flavor. It’s what I know. There are breads, meats, cheeses and desserts. Easter marks the end of Lent and celebrates new life. Whether you participate in this practice from a religious standpoint or not this is a tradition that endures. I take great joy in keeping and sharing it.
I always experience an extra feeling of kinship and camaraderie as our Italian friends and neighbors go to the same stores, to buy the same ingredients, to make the same meal that they will offer their families for Easter dinner. I don’t find all of this sameness boring. On the contrary, it feels exciting. We wait all year for this this feast!
Ricotta Pie: An Italian Easter Tradition
Today I’m sharing a recipe for ricotta pie, and you can feel free to make it any old time you like. You do not have to limit it to once a year. And if it does not fit the needs of your holiday table, I hope that you will try it some other time. The ricotta makes it creamy, and the orange zest balances the fat of the cheese. It’s a wonderful spring treat.
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Happy Easter and happy Passover!