ITALIAN "PASQUALINA" EASTER PIE
Pasqualina Easter Pie is one of the most popular Easter treat in Italy. Made with a rich and crispy homemade pastry, it's filled with Ricotta cheese, spinach, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and of course eggs!Originally from Liguria region, it's traditionally made with the Ligurian cheese called "prescinseua", but in others Italian regions it's made with Ricotta cheese. The pastry was originally made with 27 thin overlapped layers, but it's now very diffused with just one thicker layer, as I did. The contrast between the homemade pastry, crunchy outside, and the soft filling, is incredibly delicious! It can't miss on all Italian Easter tables, but it's also perfect for brunch or a lovely Spring pic-nic.You can prepare this pie the day before and store it in refrigerator: it will taste even better the day after.
- 250 g (2 cups) all purpose flour
- 100 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter chilled and cut into small cubes
- 1/4 tsp salt
- About 80 g (1/3 cup) cold water
- 500 g (1 pound) fresh spinach then slighlty boiled in salted water
- 250 g (9 oz) Ricotta cheese or a fresh sweet cheese similar to Ricotta if you can't find it
- 35 g (1/3 cup) Parmigiano Reggiano cheese grated, or Parmesan if you can't find the Italian Parmigiano cheese
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt to taste
- black pepper
- 1 egg beaten
- 4 whole eggs
- In a food processor, place flour, salt, butter and process for few seconds until crumbs form: do not overmix.
- Add water little by little and incorporate until crumbs are formed (do not process more than 20-30 seconds). The amount of flour could vary depends on your flour, so add it little by little. If too wet, add a bit more flour.
- Place the crumble dough onto your working surface, gather it into a ball and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes.
- Squeeze the boiled spinach and coarsely cut them.
- Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the spinach into a non-stick pan and cook at low heat for few minutes until they release their moisture and become drier.
- Then add ricotta, black pepper: mix and cook quickly at low heat until the mixture is creamy and not watery.
- Turn the heat off then add Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and mix.
- When the filling cooled down, add 1 beaten egg.
- Salt to taste.
- Divide the dough into two chunks: one slightly bigger than the other.
- Roll out the bigger chunk between cling film and baking paper sheet until get a circle about 30cm-12inch diameter.
- Place it into a 20-23cm (8-9 inch) pie pan with the parchment paper; remove the cling film on top and punch the bottom crust with a fork.
- Place the spinach and ricotta filling over the crust.
- Create 4 large holes into the spinach filling and break the raw eggs into them.
- Roll out the smaller chunk of dough between two cling films until get a circle about 25cm-10inch.
- Gently place it on the top of the pie.
- Use your fingers to pinch the edges and enclose the pie.
- Create your own decoration (be careful to not cut the top crust in the spots where you placed raw whole eggs!) and brush the top with a milk and egg-yolk mixture.
- Bake in preheated oven at 180°C-350°F for about 30-40 minutes or until the crust is golden.
- Cool it down at least 1-2 hours before slice it and serve it.
Store in refrigerator for about 4 days.
Make large holes in the spinach filling so you can easily place raw eggs in the holes and the egg whites won’t spread all over!
If you want to make this pie in a quick way, you can substitute homemade crust with store bought brisèe or puff pastry.