About this recipe:This is an old Italian recipe for a pie with a sweet crust--just like from the old country. My in-laws are Italian and they say that this is the best pie. It is always requested for Christmas. Mini chocolate bits and lemon rind can be mixed into the batter.
Beat the 12 eggs, 2 cups sugar and vanilla or lemon extract together. Stir in the ricotta cheese and the chocolate chips. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 165 degrees C (325 degrees F). Grease two deep dish pie tins.
Combine the flour, baking powder, and 1 cup of the sugar together. Cut in the shortening and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in 4 of the eggs and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Divide dough into 4 balls and chill (if needed).
Roll out 2 of the balls to fit into the pie tins. Do not make the crust too thick as it will expand during cooking and get too thick. Do not flute the edges of the dough. Roll out the other 2 balls of dough and cut each into 8 narrow strips for the top of the crust. Alternately you can use cookie cutters and place the cutouts on the top of the pies.
Pour the filling evenly into the pie crusts. Top each pie with 8 narrow strips of dough or cookie cut-outs. Brush top of pie with milk for shine. Place foil on the edge of crust.
Bake at 165 degrees C (325 degrees F) for 20 to 30 minutes then remove foil. Continue to bake for another 25 or 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.