My ricotta cheese pie is good for two reasons. First, it’s a sweet and spongy dessert that can be served a number of ways. You can top it with jam or chocolate, or just dust it with a little powdered sugar. And second, it’s a great way to use up leftover ricotta cheese. Normally, that is when I make lasagna, but also when I make my Italian stuffed chicken. This dessert is easy to put together and bakes up so light. It can also be served for breakfast, as it’s very similar to a German pancake. I love to top it with raspberry jam and whipped cream, but my husband loves a chocolate drizzle. With this simple dessert, we can both have our cake (pie) and eat it, too.

Belle’s Ricotta Cheese Pie

1 cup ricotta cheese

2 eggs (separated)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

½ cup sugar

Powdered sugar, jam, chocolate syrup (optional)

In a bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese and the egg yolks until smooth. Add the vanilla, flour, and all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar. In another bowl, beat the eggs whites with a hand mixer until soft peaks form, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and then beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the ricotta mixture. Place the batter into a 1 quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, or until the middle is firm and the pie doesn’t jiggle much when you gently shake the dish. Let cool and dust with powdered sugar, or top with jam, whipped topping or drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins and a grandmother of eight. She is a cookbook author and novelist. For more recipes and information, visit her website www.talesofthedinnerbelle.com.