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Originally published Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 7:00 PM

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Recipe: Sweet Strawberry Pizza With Cannoli Cream

Makes 8 to 12 servings Pie Pastry: 1 ½ cups all-purpose unbleached flour (measure by dipping cups into the flour sack, then leveling...

Makes 8 to 12 servings

Pie Pastry:

1 ½ cups all-purpose unbleached flour (measure by dipping cups into the flour sack, then leveling by sweeping a knife over the top of the cup — don't tamp down or pack in)

Generous 1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1 large egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 to 4 tablespoons cold water

Cannoli Cream and Strawberries

1 quart strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered or halved

2 teaspoons sugar

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1/4 to 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped candied fruit (citron or cherries, or any other type), or dried cherries or pineapple)

2 cups whole-milk ricotta (about 1 to 1 ½ pounds)

2/3 cup salted shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

Pinch of salt

1. To make the pastry crust: In a freezer bag, combine the flour, salt, sugar and chunks of butter. Freeze for 30 minutes to several days. When ready to make the crust, turn the bag's contents into a food processor or large bowl. Use the rapid pulse in the processor — or, in a bowl, use your fingertips or a pastry cutter — to work the butter into the flour. The butter should be in pea-sized clumps.

2. Beat egg, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of water together. Pulse just until dough gathers into clumps, or toss with a fork until moistened and you can pinch together a piece of dough. If dry, work in another 1 to 2 tablespoons water, one tablespoon at a time.

3. Oil a 14- to 16-inch pizza pan. Roll out dough on a floured board to an extremely thin 17-inch round. Arrange on pan. Trim away all but 1 ½ inches of excess pastry. Fold it inward to make a rim. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

4. Set rack as low as possible in oven. Preheat to 450 degrees. Remove pan from refrigerator and put raw rice or dried beans on top of the foil. Bake 10 minutes, carefully remove and discard the foil, pierce the crust all over with a fork and bake another 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden. Cool at room temperature. (Do not eat the rice or beans. Reserve them for another blind baking recipe.)

5. To assemble the pizza: Gently combine the berries with the 2 teaspoons sugar and set aside.

6. In a medium bowl, combine confectioner's sugar, vanilla, chopped candied or dried fruit, ricotta, all but 3 tablespoons of the shelled and chopped pistachios, and salt.

7. Daub teaspoonfuls of the ricotta mixture here and there over the crust. Then scatter the berries over the crust. Finally, sprinkle with the pistachios. Serve soon after assembling.

From Lynne Rossetto Kasper

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