I remember that exciting time when Easter pies lined the glass counters of Italian bakeries in New York. These savory pies — also known as Pizza Rustica — showed up just before Easter. They’re an elaborate, rich celebration of cured meats at the end of Lent.
The pie is over-full with chunks of salami, mortadella, cappacollo, ham…that’s my version. You can mix up the meats to include pepperoni or soppressata, or prosciutto.
They meats are mixed with ricotta, eggs, parmigiano, and — in my version — provolone for a little sharpness.
The whole pie is baked in a flaky crust and served in slices for an appetizer — or part of your Easter lunch or dinner.
The pie keeps well, refrigerated, for a few days. You can sneak irresistible tasty slivers for as long as a week.
Don’t worry if it looks involved — it’s not hard! It’s authentic — one of those rustic culinary traditions that Italians look forward to every year (including me). Once you taste it, you’ll make it one your traditions, too. Let me know how it goes. : )
Easter Pie or Pizza Rustica
For the Pastry:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup cold dry white wine
For the Filling:
2 cups ricotta
3 eggs, plus 1 more egg for egg wash
1/2 lb. mozzarella, diced
¼ lb. mortadella, thick sliced, cut into small dice
¼ lb. capacollo, thick sliced, cut into small dice
¼ lb. salami, thick sliced, cut into small dice
1/4 lb. ham, thick sliced, cut into dice
1 cup grated Parmigiano or Pecorino
1/4 lb. diced pecorino or provolone cheese
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Put the flour and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Cut the butter into cubes and add to flour. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the chilled wine. Process until a ball of dough forms — about 15-20 seconds. If ball isn’t forming, add a tablespoon or more wine.
Take dough out of the processor and divide into two pieces—about 2/3 and 1/3. Flatten each into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes, or as long as overnight.
In a large mixing bowl mix together the ricotta with the grated cheese. Stir in the mozzarella, mortadella, capacollo, salami, ham, and diced cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl, beat together the 3 eggs. Season eggs with salt. Stir into ricotta mixture, and combine well.
Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Roll out the larger piece of dough to fit a the pan, with dough coming about half-way up the sides of the pan. “Dock” the dough by poking a fork all around the dough. Fill with the ricotta filling. Roll out the smaller piece of dough and place on top. Crimp the edges to seal it together with sides of the bottom pice of dough. . Cut about 4-5 steam slits in a circle around the center into the top dough.
Beat the last egg with a teaspoon o f water. Brush lightly on the dough.
Bake for about 1 hour until the crust colors to golden. Let pizza rustica sit for about 15 minutes before unsealing the sides of the springform pan. Let cool for another 30 minutes-1 hour before cutting into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature. The pie keeps, refrigerated, for a few days.