Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Berries And Ricotta Crostata-Updated

Berries And Ricotta Crostata-Updated (1)

I decided to update this recipe for two reasons. First, phone cameras are so much better now. Second, my baking skills have improved. Crostata is a rustic looking pie. It’s formed by folding the edges over the filling.

I think that my Homemade Pie Crust is perfect for this recipe. To get my Homemade Pie Crust recipe click on the link at the bottom of this post.

I made the dough the day before so all I really needed to do was to make the filling. Once the filling was made, I just rolled the dough out and baked.

Berries And Ricotta Crostata-Updated (4)

I think that Homemade Pie Crust is perfect for this recipe. I made the dough the day before so all I had to do really was to make the filling. Once I did that, I just rolled the dough out and baked. For my Homemade Pie Crust recipe, click the link at the bottom of this post.

Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: Cooking the filling 7 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 to 30 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Note: This does not include the time for making the dough.

Ingredients For Filling:
1 pint of raspberries, reserve 5 raspberries for garnish
1 pint of blackberries, for garnish
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon Chambord Liqueur (raspberry liqueur)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon *arrowroot (or cornstarch)

1 15-ounce container Ricotta cheese, cold
1 cup confectioner sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
zest of one lemon

egg wash, 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
2 tablespoons of Sanding sugar (or Turbinado sugar)
1 sprig of fresh mint for garnish

Place the Ricotta into a large bowl. Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest, and powdered sugar, mix to combine. Place back into the refrigerator until needed.

The day before:
Make the dough for the pie crust. There is a link at the bottom of the page for my Homemade Pie Crust

Preheat oven to 425-degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
To make the filling:
In a small saucepan, on medium heat, place the raspberries (reserve 5 raspberries for garnish), add water, granulated sugar, and lemon juice. You will see the berries start to burst and release their juices, 3-5 minutes. Next, add the *arrowroot (or cornstarch), stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until completely cooled.

Roll the pastry into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Ladle the thicken raspberry mixture onto the pastry, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border all around. Fold the border up over the filling pressing and pleating if needed. Place big dollops of the Ricotta mixture onto the filling, here and there. Brush the pastry edges with egg wash. Sprinkle just the edges with Sanding or Turbinado sugar. Using the parchment paper, carefully transfer the pie onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the pastry, has browned and the filling has thickened. Cool for 30 minutes.

Garnish with fresh berries and sprigs of mint.

*arrowroot: a starch (similar to cornstarch) obtained from the rhizomes of several tropical plants.

Serve at warm or at room temperature.


Homemade Pie Crust

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Calzone Or Empanada?

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This recipe has the best of both worlds in my opinion. I love Calzone but, they can have too much dough. In this recipe, I’ve combined the filling of a Calzone and the outside pastry of an Empanada.

My Homemade Pie Crust recipe link is available at the bottom of the post. What I like to do is, when I make pie dough I always make more than what I’m going to need for that day, and freeze it. This really helps when I’m wanting to make a recipe like this one. I just take the dough out of the freezer the night before and transfer to the refrigerator until I’m ready to roll it out.

There are some really great ready-made pie crusts available in the grocery store. If you don’t have the time to make your own pie dough, pick up two boxes. This recipe calls for 4 pie crusts The other great thing about this #calzone or #empanada, recipe is everything can be made in advance, just bake them off when you’re ready.

I’m going to be using butter and olive oil for this dish. A lot of time, in Italian cooking, they’ll utilize both, especially as you get further into northern regions of Italy. We all know butter is FLAVOR!🧈

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Another great way to bring a depth of flavor to this dish is to start out with around 1/4 cup of diced Pancetta. Add the Pancetta to a cold cast-iron skillet. Cook over medium-high heat and render all the fat out. Using a slotted spoon, remove the Pancetta transferring those salty crispy bits of goodness onto a plate lined with a paper towel. Use the Pancetta grease to cook the shallots and mushrooms. An important tip to remember here is, if you are going to replace the butter and olive oil with Pancetta in this dish, you may want to decrease the amount of Kosher salt you use, if any at all. Pancetta adds a salty flavor naturally.



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Calzones Or Empanadas


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time for filling 30 minutes
Baking time for filled pastries: 12 to 15 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, 2 large mixing bowls, medium-size bowl, rubber spatula, large metal spatula, 4 rimmed baking sheet pans

1 pound of sweet or hot Italian sausage (5 sausage links casing removed)
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 pints of cremini mushrooms, quartered
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped thyme leaves (substitute 1 tablespoon of dried)
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
5 mini sweet bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced
1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth
1 package of fresh spinach leaves
1 cup of Ricotta cheese
1 cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
4 pie dough circles, 10 inches each in diameter
*egg wash, 4 large eggs plus 4 tablespoons water beaten together
marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.

To start, add both unsalted butter and olive oil to a preheated cast-iron skillet on medium heat. Add the sliced shallots cook for about 2 to 3 minutes stirring frequently. To the skillet add the cremini mushrooms. Continue cooking allowing the mushrooms to release their water. Occasionally stirring, once the mushrooms have released all their water they will start browning, around 5 to 7 minutes. Add the minced garlic and fresh thyme leaves, stir through.

Next, add the sliced mini sweet bell peppers along with Fresno chili. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring with the mushrooms and shallots. Moving forward, add the sweet Italian sausage, dried oregano, Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Turn the temperature up to medium-high, break the sausage up using the back of a wooden spoon allowing the sausage to brown evenly. Stir occasionally until there is no pink and the sausage is cooked through about 12 to 15 minutes.

Once the sausage is nice and brown, you want to *deglaze the pan by adding unsalted chicken broth to the skillet. Using a wooden spoon, scrape all of those good bits of flavor off the bottom of the pan.  Allow the broth reduce and get absorbed by all the other ingredients, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the fresh spinach, stir through, the spinach will wilt down very quickly. Once that happens, remove the pan from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl, leaving any or all excess grease behind.

Allow the filling to cool before adding in the cheese.

In another large mixing bowl, add the shredded mozzarella, grated Parmesan, and Ricotta cheese, mix to combine. Using a rubber spatula, combine the cheese mixture together with the sausage mixture, stir until combined.

In a medium-size bowl add the eggs and water, beat to combine.

Next, the pie dough. If you have your own pie dough, you want to roll all four of them out into about 10 inches in diameter, 1/8 inch thick.

Divide the filling into four equal parts. Using a spoon lay the filling on the bottom third of the circle of pie dough almost all the way across. Brush the egg wash all around the perimeter of the circle. Fold the dough over the filling meeting up with the other side of the dough.  Press the filling gently down so it spreads out evenly inside of the pie dough. Using a fork, crimp the edges to ensure no filling will escape. Take a paring knife and trim any excess dough from around the edges that. All that does is to make the crimped edges even and rounded. This gives a professional look to the pies. Brush more of the egg wash all over the top and sides of the pie dough.

Using a paring knife, vent the pies by making 4 small slits, in the top of each one.  Use a large spatula to transfer the filled Calzone/Empanada from the board onto a rimmed baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Place all 4 of the baking sheets into the refrigerator for 15 minutes to rest before baking off. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.

Allow the Calzone Or Empanada to cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping.

*egg wash is a mixture of beaten eggs and milk or water brushed over pastry or dough before baking in order to give an attractive color and shine to the surface.

*deglaze is a cooking technique for removing and dissolving browned food residue from a pan to flavor sauces, soups, and gravies.


Homemade Pie Crust

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Farmer Cheese Pie



I know it’s been a few days since I’ve found myself behind this keyboard, but for good reason. I’ve been testing out this recipe. Not for just the filling but for how it would work with the pie dough I made earlier. I love cheesecake, but I wanted to work on a recipe for a Farmer Cheese Pie, like the one I saw on Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie shop in New York.

The reason it took me so long to test out this recipe was, I wasn’t able to find Farmer cheese at any of my local grocery stores. Well, I was in the dairy aisle looking to buy some butter and there it was Farmer cheese, staring me right in the face. Don’t ask me why it’s not with all the other cheeses but that’s where I found it.

They come packaged in 7.5-ounce bars, so I bought two. I also bought a store-bought ready-made pie crust shell from the freezer section. The reason for this is, I wanted to share this recipe with Homemade Pie Crust as well as if you had bought a ready to use a pie shell.


Above is my homemade pie crust. Below is my pie using a store-bought pie crust.


You know, I’m a big believer on making your own pie crust, but this dish is really about the filling, I want to share both ways today, one with a store-bought ready-made pie crust and one using my Homemade Pie Crust.

The recipe I’m about to share with you will make enough filling for two pie shells. Believe me when I tell you that you’ll want to have extra pie. Make sure to let the frozen pie shell to sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes before *blind baking the pie crust. For my Homemade Pie Crust recipe, click the link at the bottom of this post.



My Farmer Cheese Pie yields enough filling for two pies. If you’re using a Homemade Pie Crust then you’ll use both halves of this pie dough.

I’m cutting my dough in half here because I want to show both the store-bought ready-made pie crust and Homemade Pie Crust for Famer Cheese Pie. I’m wrapping the remaining half of dough in plastic wrap and placing it back into the frig.

Dried Beans For Pie Weights.jpg

I keep my pie weights (dried beans) in a jar on a shelf in my kitchen. I can use them over and over again by letting them cool completely before placing them back into the jar for the next time.


Next, take the dough that’s hanging over the edge of the pie pan and fold it under all the way around, and using your fingers crimp the edges.  You won’t need to do this with the store bought one because it’s already done for you.

At this point, you want to dock with a fork all over the bottom of the pie crust. Do the same with the thawed store-bought ready-made crust as well.

Place both pie shells back into the frig to rest for 1 hour. Doing this will prevent the sides of the pie dough from shrinking down and let it maintain its shape. While this is happening, work on the filling.


You want to make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature to ensure a smooth filling. The picture below is what a silicone cover for a pie crust looks like. You can also use aluminum foil as a substitute.



Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Yields: 2 pies
Equipment: Electric mixer, 1 glass pie pan, rolling pin, parchment paper, silicone cover and or aluminum foil, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans

1 homemade pie crust, rolled out to 10-inch in diameter, 1/8-inch in thickness
1 Marie Callender’s Pastry Pie Shell, store-bought ready-made frozen pie crust shell, pan included
2 7.5-ounce bars of Farmer cheese, room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
all-purpose flour

Directions For Homemade Pie Crust:
Click on the link at the bottom of this page.
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.

Note: Transfer the store-bought ready-made pie shell to the refrigerator the day before you plan to blind bake the pie crust.

Homemade Pie Crust Dough:
Dust your board with flour. Start rolling out the dough and keeping turning the dough a quarter turn each time you roll. Roll the dough out until it’s about 1/8-inch in thickness and 10-inches in diameter. Next, take the dough that’s hanging off the edge of the pan and fold it under all the way around. Using your fingers, crimp the edges.

At this point, you need to *dock (prick) with a fork all over the bottom of both the homemade and store-bought pie shells. Place both pie shells back into the frig for 1 hour to rest.

Directions For Partial Blind Baking:
After allowing the pies shells to rest n the refrigerator for 1 hour, place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pie crust, making sure to make the parchment flush with the crust. Add dried beans (or pie weights) to both pie shells. Push the beans towards the edges of both pies. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crimped edges are set but not browned.

Remove the pie shells from the oven. Next, carefully remove the parchment paper with the dried beans.

Note: DO NOT remove the silicone cover and or aluminum foil covering the edges while the pies are cooling.

Reduce oven temperature to 350-degrees F.

Directions For The Filling:
Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix the farmer cheese and powdered sugar together. Add the 5 eggs, one at a time, until they’re all combined. Add vanilla extract, lemon zest, and heavy cream.
Evenly distribute the pie filling into each pie.

Place the pie/s, on a rimmed baking sheet, on the center rack and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes.

After the pie comes out of the oven, remove the silicone cover, and let cool for 30 minutes on a cooling rack. Dust the pies with some powdered sugar. My Farmer Cheese Pie is delicious at room temperature or chilled. You do want to refrigerate the pies to store them.

Times may vary depending on whether you’re baking in a glass or some type of metal pan. These vessels can affect the outcome of the pie.

*Dock: Pricking holes in the rolled-out pie dough allow the steam to escape while it’s baking. Without this, the steam would puff up in bubbles and pockets throughout the crust.

*Partial Blind Baking: Sometimes called pre-baking, is the process of baking a pie crust or other pastry without the filling.

*Fully Blind Baking:
First, follow the steps above, in the sections marked, directions for partial blind baking.
Next, cover the crimped edges, of the pie, with either a silicone cover or aluminum foil to prevent the edges from burning. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bottom crust is browned and cooked through. Fully Blind baking a pie crust is necessary when it will be filled with an unbaked filling (such as pudding or cream pies in which case the crust must be fully baked. Cool before filling.

Note: For best results, use the frozen pie dough or frozen pie crusts within 3 months. You can also refrigerate unbaked pie dough or unbaked pie crust for up to 3 days. Keep tightly covered with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

Homemade Pie Crust

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