Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Pizzagaina (Italian Easter Pie)
Ok, well I am embarrassed to say that I have not posted any of my Easter recipes yet. So I'm a little but late as usual, but the food was fantastic so I must post it! Besides better late than never!
For those of you who have never eaten pizzagaina, it is basically a pie full of many types of traditional meats and cheeses. In my family, it is tradition that we would go to Midnight Mass with my Grandma and Grandpa and then come home and eat some. I was a picky eater and never ate any, but we always made it together and it is a great Easter tradition and way to break Lent!
This year my friend Jules and I tackled the pizzagaina making with my Mom, Aunt, and Grandma to give us guidance and advice. Here was the outcome:
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut in cubes
Filling (so yummy I had to photograph the ingredients)
1 lb ricotta
1 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella,sliced
1/3 lb Basket Cheese,sliced (also known as Farmer's Cheese)
1 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano,grated
12 eggs, half hard-boiled and half beaten
1 lb ham
1/4 lb salami
1/4 lb capicola
1/4 lb proscuitto
1/4 lb proscuittini
3 tbsp parsley
1. Make your crust! Start by mixing together the flour and salt.
2. Toss in the cubes of butter and start combining with two forks.
3. Add eggs one at a time and incorporate by hand.
4. Roll into two balls and cover with plastic wrap. Pop in the refrigerator for about an hour.
5. Meanwhile,take the slices of meat stacked and chop into sections for easier assembling.
6. Slice the hardboiled eggs as well.
7. Add parsley, salt, pepper, and pecorino to beaten eggs (6).
8. Take dough and let rest til room temp. Then roll out in two circles.
9. Press into a 9 inch pie plate or 9 inch springform pan.
10. Now here's where it gets challenging. There are two different ways to fill the inside. One way is to layer the meats,boiled eggs, and cheeses, then top with beaten eggs. The other way is to combine everything (eggs, meats, and cheeses) and pour in pan. Both sides of my family do it differently so I made one of each.
11. If you choose layering, you will want to be sure to rotate (a meat, a cheese, hard-boiled egg) and repeat until you have used them all. There is no set pattern for layering the filling.
12. If you choose to combine first, then be sure you have a large bowl, because it's a lot of food! Also, you will want to cube the hard boiled eggs to prevent them from breaking apart when mixing.
13. Either will taste great! Top with the second rolled out circle of dough. Press the edges to seal. Scallop the edges using your fingers or a fork. Also, be sure to cut vents in the pie. We got slightly creative and made a cross and a bunny on ours.
14. Brush with milk or egg to get a more glossy finish to your crust!
15. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Let cool on cookie racks.
16. On Easter, cut and serve!