Pizza Rustica

Pizza Rustica 1

Every once in a while, life hands you a reminder that you’re just not all that. My reminder usually comes in the form of karmic revenge — a topic not for this post (nor this blog) — but now and then, it jumps me in the kitchen.

I have more knife scars than I can count (no doubt in payment for my knife-skills pride). And just when I become emotionally attached to a kitchen tool — usually a spatula or scraper — I manage to burn or melt the handle (totally true – I have an entire collection).

So, when the recipe for pizza rustica came on the schedule for Tuesdays with Dorie, I wasn’t worried in the least. Pie dough, simple, cheesy fillings with a little prosciutto, made fluffy with eggs. Piece of cake. Er, pie. Pizza pie.


I should’ve known something was coming. The Universe loves a good blind-sided smack-down.

Pizza Rustica 2

But first, here’s the thing that did go right — really, really right: the ricotta for the filling.

Homemade herb ricotta. Sweet holy moly, this stuff is heaven on a cracker.

If it looks good enough to eat with a spoon, that’s because it is. You know, theoretically. Not that I’ve actually tried it that way. No, sir. Not straight out of the bowl. With a spoon.

Nor did I make extra just so I could do that. Uh. Uh. No.

(Full recipe and technique tomorrow!)

Pizza Rustica

Now, this pizza thing wasn’t a full-on disaster, but the photo above does show the source of the day’s headache: the dough. OMG, the dough (back-of-hand to forehead, swoon).

It came together beautifully. It chilled beautifully. And then it turned on me.

Or, to be accurate about it, the weather turned on me.

You’ve heard me prattle on and on about our warm Spring. Really warm Spring. A week’s worth of days in the 80’s. Including the weekend I made this recipe.

Hot and muggy days mean air conditioning. But it’s March, people! There shouldn’t have to be air conditioning in March in Ohio. Last year at this time, there was still snow on the ground, fer pete’s sake. I was just not going to do it, even though the kitchen was edging up towards 85°F.

Fast forward to rolling out the dough. Man, disaster. The dough practically melted on the board. Actually, the word I really want to use is curdled. See how pebbly rough the dough pieces are? The lattice strips were even worse.

Dinner late, if not ruined. Sigh. The dough needed frequent rechilling in my jungle kitchen, but there just wasn’t time. I had to power on.

Pizza Rustica

Shockingly, the thing actually baked up halfway decent. The pieced-together dough hunkered down and fused together in the heat of the oven, and still managed to come out light and flaky.

I’d say that’s a pretty amazing pie dough. The pizza itself was a bit on the quichey side because of the eggs, but all around quite tasty.

Next time, when the kitchen hits the mid-80’s, I’m turning on the air conditioning, dammit. I don’t care if it’s the middle of winter.

No sense tempting the Universe again with an obvious “duh.”

(And the ricotta? The best part of the whole thing, by far. Oh! And I totally keep forgetting: I added red wine onion jam to the mixture. No way I was going to do this dish without onions, so I caramelized them on a whim.)

This post is part of Tuesdays with Dorie, an online baking group working its way through “Baking with Julia,” by Dorie Greenspan. The pizza rustica project is hosted this week by Emily of Capital Region Dining Blog and Raelynn of The Place They Call Home. You’ll find the full recipe and instructions on their sites. Also check out Tuesdays with Dorie to see how the other bakers’ quichey creations turned out.


  1. Looking forward to the homemade ricotta… so curious – it looks great!

  2. Nice and I assume tasty recovery!

  3. I (heart) homemade ricotta – that looks like it was totally the star of the show.
    I am glad I am not the only one with the scars/ stitches as souveniers of time in the kitchen :-)

    It looks lovely – you would never know that you had naughty dough.

  4. Homemade ricotta is the best. And easy. Your filling looks superb. You should see my scarred hands!

  5. So sorry you had an issue. I loved the dough. I was afraid I might have an issue but thankfully it all pulled together nicely. I think yours still looks great!

  6. Can’t wait for the recipe for this one. It’s still comparatively cool here in RI. We did have that week where it got up into the 80’s but now we’re at a more seasonable 50’s and 60’s.

    I realize though, that I do most of my baking in the winter and cooler months. It’s too damned hot in the summer and no central air here.

  7. I also had similar issues with my dough. It seemed too wet, but I didn’t consider that maybe my kitchen was just too hot! Beautiful photos!

  8. I look forward to your post on your herbed ricotta! It sounds fantastic.

  9. Man… you can just go ahead and overnight me a jar of that ricotta, thankyouverymuch. It looks amazing! I’ll be back tomorrow, for sure! 😀

  10. Karen,

    Homemade Ricotta…got to try that…
    You have great photos. Your pie looks good too.
    I noticed the recipe didn’t indicate to chill the dough. I think it would have made a difference. Try it. :)

    p.s. the universe loves ya…

    ~ Carmen

  11. Ugh, I hate dough disasters but your pie looks great! And I, too, am awaiting the post on homemade ricotta!

  12. kitchen karma or not – your pizza looks amazing. What gorgeous pictures!

  13. Darn heat! It sure looks delicious! I really enjoyed this recipe!

  14. That ricotta looks AMAZING! Sorry the dough gave you issues but it looks really beautiful!

  15. Wow, homemade ricotta! I never crossed my mind that you could make it; very cool! Sounds like the perfect thing to impress your friends. “Delicious cheese, right? ..Yeah, I made it”

    Too bad about the dough, but glad it turned out well in the end!

  16. LOL!! Well its nice to see the humidity and warmth didn’t affect your success with this one! :) I have had days like that too… I’m sure you got the nearly full experience though, this pie dough was amazing – we have plans (actually the husband ordered me to use it again) to use it again for many other things!

  17. trumpingthetart says:

    Homemade herbed ricotta sounds wonderful! I miss warm days (here in the NW), but I guess I should appreciate our cooler kitchen. Hope you have friendlier temperatures soon!

  18. Wow…I’m impressed! Homemade ricotta! How perfect! Your Pizza Rustica looks luscious! Happy Easter!

  19. love to have your homemade ricotta recipe.

  20. I’m coming back tomorrow to checkout your ricotta. I’m a novice cheese maker, and ricotta and mozzarella are my next projects.
    I have a lot of trouble with the crust too. And it wasn’t even hot in my kitchen!

  21. Hi Karen, I’ve missed you on French Fridays, but I didn’t realize you jumped ships! The homemade ricotta looks amazing, sort of like scoop of savory ice cream. I’ll be sure to check out your post to see how you do it. I’d like to try. I had an awful time with the crust too. It was just so soft, but I agree it baked up well. Your tart with the homemade ricotta and onion jam sounds wonderful.

  22. I really enjoyed reading about your too warm pie dough, it looks remarkably good to have presented you with such a challenge! I’m also curious about your homemade herb ricotta, will have to check back;-)

  23. Isn’t it nice to be abruptly reminded that we’re human once in awhile? LOL!

    I have what my husband calls “No Sharp-object Days.”

    But, it looks like your Rustic Pizza turned out just fine – I’m looking forward to seeing your homemade Ricotta post – very impressive~!

  24. home-made herb ricotta!!! oh wow.. that must have been fabulous…. yours really looks gorgeous!! next on the to-do list– herb ricotta…

  25. Hello, I love your blog, so many delicious looking recipes, this one being no exception. If you never told anyone about the woes of this crust, no one would ever know! It looks beautiful! I’ll look forward to the ricotta recipe too! Thanks for visiting the Café, nice to meet you, Chris

  26. Ugh…pie crust is my nemesis, but the weather cooperated for me on Monday. Sorry for your extra hassles, but I’m so glad it turned out well. And your herbed ricotta looks AMAZING!

  27. Very nice job! The summer months here make baking a bit difficult as well. Glad you powered through and enjoyed your pizza pie, er, the ricotta cheese. :)

  28. My crust did the same thing, and it wasn’t even that warm at our place! It refused to roll out smoothly and fell apart every time I looked at it sideways… so frustrating. If we hadn’t had company over for dinner (or if i’d had something else to serve them), i think mine might have taken a trip down the garbage chute 😛

  29. Looks great, damn that weather getting in the way though!!

  30. I made homemade ricotta too! Isn’t it amazing? Your’s looks great!

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