Skip to main content

Anna Francese Gass’ Crostata Ricotta e Visciole


I have never been a fan of cheesecake. While I understand its merits, it has never been a dessert I crave. However, this Roman version has become one of my favorite sweets. Born in the Hebrew quarters of Rome, this recipe is as rich in taste as it is in history. You can find it at one particular bakery called Boccione. There is no sign on the door, but all the locals know where to find it. This confection traces back to a papal decree that forbade Jewish people from selling dairy products. Resourceful Jewish bakers hid the ricotta between layers of pastry and jam; hence, this delicious combination was born. Visciole is a wild cherry produced in Italy’s Marche region. In le Marche, they are used to produce a unique wine due to their sweet but very tart flavor. Due to an abridged growing season, Italians preserve them by making jams or storing them to produce a syrup-laden cherry sauce. For this recipe, look for a sour cherry jam in specialty food shops; however, any jam will produce a delicious result.

Photo by Linda Xiao


Yield: 8-10 servings

For the pasta frolla:

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup confectioners’ sugar

Zest of one lemon

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

2 eggs

For the filling:

2 cups whole milk ricotta, drained for 1 hour

⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons almond extract

1 cup sour cherry jam, store-bought or homemade

1 egg beaten + 1 tablespoon water


Place the ricotta in a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl. Line the mesh sieve with cheesecloth or a couple of layers of paper towel. Place the ricotta into the paper towel and allow to drain at room temperature for 1 hour.

Make the pastry. In a standing mixer, combine flour, sugar, lemon zest, salt and baking powder. Turn on the machine and allow the ingredients to combine. With the machine running, slowly add the butter pieces allowing them to break up into the flour. Once the butter pieces are crumbled, add the vanilla paste and eggs. Continue to mix to allow all the ingredients to come together. Add a few tablespoons of water if needed to form the dough. Remove the dough from the machine onto a flour dusted surface. Flatten into a disc and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate for one hour.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350ºF and lightly butter a 9 ½-inch quiche dish. Set aside.

Make the filling. Mix ricotta, sugar, and extract together in a bowl until fully combined. Set aside.

Remove the dough from the fridge. Cut one piece, about ⅓ of the dough, and put the smaller piece back in the fridge. This dough will be used as the lattice topper. On a lightly floured board, roll out the larger piece of dough to a 12-inch diameter round. Place into the buttered, fluted quiche pan and press it to fit. Trim excess dough.

Spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the crostata.

Pour the cheese mix over it, careful not to mix it into the jam.

Roll out remaining dough into a large 10-inch round and cut five, one-inch strips. Place them on top to create a diamond shaped lattice.

Brush all the dough with egg wash and bake for 50 minutes until lightly golden and ricotta is set. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

From Italian Snacking: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Every Hour of the Day by Anna Francese Gass. Reprinted by permission of Union Square & Co.

Radio Cherry Bombe

Italian Snacking With Anna Francese Gass

Check Out Anna's New Book

We'd love for you to order from your favorite bookstore! Please note, some of the items we link to may earn us a small commission.