Each year I spot recipes for Easter Pie in websites and magazines, and I tell myself that I’ve got to see what it’s all about, but for one reason or another I never get around to making it. Still, the chances that this was the year to end my Easter Pie virginity were slim, because the thought of rolling dough in our nano-kitchen was downright scary. Yet, strange things happened. I read this post, and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then, having the house to myself for several hours on Sunday (my husband the golfer!) was the final push to jump in with both feet: when I’m facing a challenging project, solitude is my best friend.
ITALIAN EASTER PIE
(adapted from King Arthur website)
for the crust:
2 + 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbs sugar
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 cup + 1 Tbs room temperature water
for the filling:
6 large eggs (3 of them hard boiled, and diced)
1/2 pound diced ham
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmiggiano-reggiano cheese
minced parsley to taste
salt and pepper to taste
for the glaze:
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbs sugar
Make the crust dough by adding all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pmixing until a ball forms. Adjust with more water if necessary. When the dough forms a ball, process it for about 20 seconds. Remove it from the machine and knead gently by hand for a minute or so. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours in a warm spot of your kitchen. The dough should about double in size, and feel bubbly.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing the diced ham, boiled eggs, and ricotta cheese with the three raw eggs. Add salt, pepper, and parsley.
When the dough has doubled in size, divide it into two equal portions and roll them into oval shapes, about 10”x 14”. Place the filling over one of the dough disks, leaving a clean, 1/2 inch border. Carefully lift the second disk of dough and layer on top of the filling, enclosing it by pressing the borders together. Cut a slit on top of the pie with a knife or razor blade, and brush the surface with a glaze made from mixing the egg and sugar.
Bake it in a 350 F oven for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove to a rack and allow it to cool.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: Things were going so smoothly during the preparations of dough and filling that I found myself multitasking: a little vacuum-cleaning here, a little exercising there, and even a break to walk the dogs. But, naturally, the dark clouds were gathering and the lightning struck big time when I went to roll out the dough, and found…… no rolling pin in the house! Without naming names, someone dispatched my improvised rolling pin (an empty wine bottle without its labels) to the recyclable waste. In desperation I tried a bottle of wine (with labels on!), but it didn’t work. Flour was flying and the dough was beyond its rise. So, I took matters (literally) into my own hands, and “rolled” it with the palm of my hand on parchment paper. It’s not a relaxed activity for a Sunday morning; I don’t recommend it. Actually, it wouldn’t be too bad for a single crust concoction, like galette or another other rustic pie. But, for this pie you’ll need two disks of dough with similar dimensions. Perhaps Easter Pie was what prompted the invention of the rolling pin!
All problems aside, this pie was wonderful! As Ms. Hamel mentioned in her post, each Italian family has their own “authentic” version. Some are loaded with meats, while some – like Pastiera Napoletana – have a sweet, cheesecake-like filling. This version is lighter than most, but still substantial. If you celebrate Easter, then I suggest that you make it this weekend. If you don’t celebrate, it’s a delicious dish for a dinner party. I’ve been enjoying it for lunch at work with a juicy tomato alongside. Heaven!
ONE YEAR AGO: Black Olive Bialy