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Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pie is a classic Italian holiday dessert – especially at Eastertime. It has a sweet, orange-infused ricotta cheese filling that is dotted with mini chocolate chips throughout, and a sweet top and bottom crust.
There are many variations of Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pie – and it goes by many different names as well!
Some families simply refer to this kind of pie as an Easter Pie – but NOT to be confused with this savory Easter Pie. Other families simply call this a ricotta pie (or sweet ricotta pie) – but with no mention of chocolate chips in the filling, it could be easily be confused with this Italian Ricotta Pie.
And, sometimes, this recipe is called Pizza Dolce – which translates to ‘sweet pie’ in Italian. No matter what you call it – this Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pie is delicious!
This Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pie needs to chill and set after baking, so start preparing it earlier in the day, or even the day before you plan to serve it.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pie Crust – We provide a recipe below for a homemade pastry dough that yields enough for both the top and bottom crusts. It’s sweet and flaky and flavored with orange zest.
- Ricotta Cheese – Be sure to buy whole-milk ricotta cheese for this pie. The milk fat in the cheese helps give this pie filling a creamy, rich texture and taste.
- Confectioner’s Sugar – Powdered sugar (rather than granulated) gives the filling a smooth and light finished texture.
- Mini Chocolate Chips – We chose mini, semi-sweet chocolate chips for our Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pie because we liked how the mini chips evenly disperse throughout the filling. You can use larger chocolate chips if you’d like – but stick with the semi-sweet variety to avoid an overly sweet pie.
- Orange Zest – Chocolate and orange are a wonderful flavor pairing! You can leave the orange zest out, but we really think it adds a special flavor to this pie. If you’d like, you could swap in lemon zest instead.
- Vanilla and Almond Extracts – Use both flavors of extract if you can. The vanilla and almond extracts lend a nice, balanced flavor when combined, and together with the orange zest, sweet ricotta and the chocolate chips…this is a very special pie!
How do I make Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pie?
- Prepare the pastry dough – You can easily make the dough in a food processor or by hand. Refrigerate for one hour before assembling your pie.
- Drain ricotta cheese – While the pie crust chills, drain your ricotta cheese. We wrapped ours in cheese cloth and used skewers to suspend it over a bowl to drain. (See photo of this in the recipe below.)
- Roll out your pastry dough – Approximately 5 ounces will be used for the top crust; the rest for the bottom and sides. This dough is very tender and different from a typical pie crust dough.
- Place the bottom crust in a pie plate – We found it easiest to roll the bottom dough into a disk equal to the bottom of our pie plate. Then we just pressed more dough up the sides of the pie plate with our fingers. Chill the pie plate while you prepare the filling.
- Make the filling – Mix ricotta cheese, flour, confectioner’s sugar, baking powder, orange zest, vanilla and almond extracts. Whip egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the ricotta mixture. Gently stir in half of the mini chocolate chips.
- Assemble the pie – Pour your filling into the prepared pie plate, then sprinkle the remaining mini chocolate chip over the top. Roll out, then carefully place the top crust, then fork, not flute, the edges.
- Bake until set. Then cool your pie completely – chilling overnight to set.
- Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar on top and more orange zest shavings for garnish.
Frequently asked Questions
Can I make this in a spring form pan? Yes, however, the pastry dough is fairly fragile and may crack as you try to press it into a springform pan. In a pie plate, the dough will sit flat and rest against the sloped edges so it will be easier to assemble.
Why does my dough tear? Pastry dough is susceptible to tearing, mostly due to the high butter content and eggs – but don’t worry. You can easily patch any holes by pressing scraps of dough together.
Do I need to drain the ricotta cheese? Yes, your pie will be overly soggy if you don’t drain some of the liquid from the cheese. Just be careful not to drain too much or the filling will cook up dry. For a 2-pound container, we drained ¼ cup of liquid from the cheese – which took about an hour.
Can I make this Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pie ahead of time? You can make and form the crust ahead of time. You can also make the filling partway – but add the egg whites and chocolate chips just before you are ready to bake.
Can I freeze this pie? The pastry dough will freeze fine, but the cheese filling will not in an uncooked state due to the whipped egg whites and moisture content of the cheese. After the pie has baked however, it should freeze fine.
How do I store any leftovers? Wrap your Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pie with plastic wrap, or place in a pie box and store refrigerated for up to three days.
You may enjoy these other pie recipes:
- Innkeeper’s Pie
- Lemon Meringue Pie
- Apple Custard Pie
- Lemon Blueberry Cream Pie
- Walnut Crust Pumpkin Pie
Pastry dough (makes top & bottom crust)
2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon orange zest (finely zested)
1 whole egg
4 egg yolks (save whites for filling)
1 stick cold butter cut into pats
2 pounds whole milk ricotta cheese
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons orange zest (finely zested)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
6 egg whites (4 of the yolks were used in the crust and the remaining 2 yolks can be used to brush onto the top crust before baking)
1 ½ cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
In a medium to large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and zest.
In a small bowl* beat whole egg and yolks then stir into the flour fixture with a firm spatula or wooden spoon. Use a pastry cutter and cut the cold butter into the dough until the butter is rice sized. *Alternatively, you can use a food processor with the pulse feature to mix the crust ingredients.
Measure out 5-ounces of dough, form into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Do the same for the remaining dough and refrigerate both pieces for one hour.
Pour the ricotta onto cheese cloth and twist the top tight and tie with butcher’s twine. Hang over a bowl to catch the liquid. (We used two metal skewers to pierce the top of the cheese cloth and hold the draining cheese over the bowl.) Refrigerate for one hour to drain off ¼ cup of liquid, no more than ¼ cup.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Once the dough has rested under refrigeration, use a lot of flour and roll the larger piece to the size of the bottom of your 10-inch pie plate and then transfer to the pie plate. (We found it easier to work by using my hands to form the dough before rolling out. The heat of your hands will soften it just enough to make it softer to use).
Press and form the dough up the sides and over the rim. (If you are an experienced pie baker, you could roll to about a 13-inch circle, fold in half and place in the pie plate and unfold, but again, this pastry dough is a little fussy to work with and breaks apart easily.) Refrigerate until ready.
Place the drained ricotta, confectioner’s sugar, all-purpose flour, orange zest and both extracts in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks and fold into the filling.
Fold in half of the mini chocolate chips.
Spread this filling into the prepared pie dish and sprinkle on the second half of the mini chocolate chips.
Use a pastry brush and lightly brush around the crust edge with water so that the top dough will stick to the bottom dough.
Roll out the second piece of dough slightly larger than the top of your pie dish (we rolled ours to 12-inches)
Fold the circle in half then unfold over the filling, pressing lightly around the edge to stick.
Use a knife and run it along the outer edge to cut off excess dough.
Fold the outer edge up and over itself towards the center then use a fork to crimp. Don’t try to make a fluted edge as this type of dough will not hold its shape when baked.
Take the remaining egg yolks and brush along the top of the dough, coming up to but not over the crust edge.
Cut several slits across the top as air vents and bake for 55 minutes. Since there is a layer of chocolate across the top of the filling under the top crust, it is difficult to use the tooth pick test to test for doneness. We jiggled ours a bit and once everything seemed firm, we removed it. Baking 55 minutes was perfect in our oven.
Let sit on a cooling rack then refrigerate for a few hours to set.
To serve, dust the top with powdered sugar and cut into eight servings.
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