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Italian Easter Pie

Celebrate Easter with a Flavorful Tradition: Italian Easter Pie

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As Easter approaches, it’s time to gather with loved ones and indulge in the rich culinary traditions that make the holiday special. Among the array of delicious dishes enjoyed during Easter celebrations, Italian Easter Pie stands out as a true culinary masterpiece. Also known as “Pizza Rustica” or “Torta Pasqualina,” this savory pie is a delightful blend of creamy ricotta cheese, assorted meats, and flaky pastry crust. Whether served as part of a festive brunch or enjoyed as a savory snack, Italian Easter Pie is sure to impress your family and friends. Join us as we delve into the art of crafting this beloved dish and celebrate the joy of Easter with every flavorful bite.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets pie dough, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 8 oz. Genoa salami or smoked ham, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 8 oz. sopressata or browned sausage, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 4 oz. spicy salami or pepperoni, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh cheese (queso fresco/cacique, formaggio, etc.), broken into pieces
  • 8 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons water

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and grease a 9-inch pie dish.
  2. Roll out one sheet of pie dough and line the bottom and sides of the pie dish, trimming any excess dough.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, eggs, cubed salami or ham, sopressata or sausage, spicy salami or pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Mix until well combined.
  4. Pour the ricotta mixture into the prepared pie dish and spread it out evenly.
  5. Arrange the pieces of fresh cheese (queso fresco, formaggio, etc.) on top of the ricotta mixture, pressing them gently into the filling.
  6. Layer the thinly sliced prosciutto over the cheese, covering the surface of the pie.
  7. Roll out the second sheet of pie dough and place it over the filling, crimping the edges to seal it with the bottom crust.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and water to create an egg wash. Brush the egg wash over the top crust of the pie.
  9. Using a sharp knife, make several small slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape during baking.
  10. Bake the Italian Easter Pie in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set.
  11. Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Cook’s Notes and Variations:

  • Pie Dough Options: You can use either homemade pie dough or store-bought pie crusts for this recipe. If using store-bought crusts, be sure to follow the package instructions for thawing and handling.
  • Assorted Meats: Feel free to customize the filling by using your favorite combination of meats. Italian sausage, pancetta, or even leftover roasted chicken can be delicious additions to the pie.
  • Cheese Varieties: Experiment with different types of cheese to add depth of flavor to the pie. Fontina, provolone, or pecorino romano are excellent choices that complement the savory filling.

Variations to Explore:

  1. Vegetarian Italian Easter Pie: For a meat-free version of the pie, omit the salami, sopressata, and prosciutto, and instead add a variety of sautéed vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms, and bell peppers to the ricotta mixture. Top with additional cheese for extra flavor.
  2. Herb-infused Filling: Enhance the flavor of the filling by adding fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, or thyme. Finely chop the herbs and mix them into the ricotta mixture before assembling the pie.
  3. Individual Mini Pies: Instead of making one large pie, divide the filling among individual pie dishes or muffin tins to create mini pies. This is a fun and versatile option for serving at parties or gatherings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I make the pie ahead of time? A: Yes, you can assemble the pie ahead of time and refrigerate it overnight before baking. Simply cover the pie tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Allow the pie to come to room temperature before baking as directed.

Q: Can I freeze leftovers? A: Yes, you can freeze leftover slices of Italian Easter Pie for up to 1 month. Wrap the slices individually in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, then place them in a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. To reheat, thaw the slices overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in a preheated oven until warmed through.

Q: Can I serve the pie at room temperature? A: Yes, Italian Easter Pie can be served warm or at room temperature, making it a versatile dish for entertaining. Allow the pie to cool for at least 30 minutes after baking before slicing and serving.

Q: What can I serve with Italian Easter Pie? A: Italian Easter Pie pairs well with a variety of side dishes such as mixed green salad, roasted vegetables, or garlic bread. It’s also delicious on its own as a hearty main course.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

  • Low-Carb Option: To make a low-carb version of Italian Easter Pie, omit the pie crust altogether and bake the filling in a greased pie dish or casserole dish. You can also reduce the amount of cheese and use low-carb vegetables such as spinach, bell peppers, and mushrooms in the filling.
  • Keto-Friendly Version: For a keto-friendly version, use a low-carb pie crust made with almond flour or coconut flour. Substitute the high-carb meats such as salami and sopressata with keto-friendly options such as bacon, prosciutto, or cooked sausage. Use full-fat ricotta cheese and skip the fresh cheese for a higher fat content.

In conclusion, Italian Easter Pie is a delightful addition to any Easter celebration, offering a perfect balance of savory flavors and flaky pastry crust. Whether enjoyed as a main course or served alongside other festive dishes, this timeless classic is sure to please even the most discerning palates. With its customizable filling and versatile serving options, Italian Easter Pie is a culinary tradition worth savoring year after year. So why not bring a taste of Italy to your Easter table and delight your family and friends with this delicious dish? Buon appetito!

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