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“Torta Pasqualina” A Savory Pie Served at Easter!

In Italy, Torta Pasqualina is a well-known traditional Easter pie that is typically served at Easter, with each region having its own variation.


According to legend, the original Torta Pasqualina dates back to the Middle Ages. The recipe, at that time, consisted of 33 layers of very thin pastry sheets – one layer for each year of Jesus’ life. Today, this beloved Easter pie is made with puff pastry.


Since my name is Pasqualina, it only seemed fitting that I share this traditional family recipe on Easter, which we have converted into a gluten-free alternative. Torta Pasqualina is made with two layers of thin dough that contains a filling made with spinach, ricotta, parmigiano cheese, and whole eggs, which are added directly to the filling. When cooked, they become hard and are clearly visibile when cut. Other variations we have used are chard, ricotta, and a combination of parmigiano and pecorino cheese.


It is a unique, delicious and tasty savory pie that is great hot, but even better cold and can certainly be made throughout the year. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!


Buona Pasqua!

Happy Easter!


Torta Pasqualina


Prep Time: 30 minutes

Baking Time: 1 hour

Yields: 6 - 8 servings


Ingredients:


For Gluten-Free Puff Pastry:

  • 2 3/4 cups measure-for measure gluten-free flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of xanthan gum (even if your flour already contains it)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

  • 1/3 cup organic vegetable shortening

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 1/2 - 3/4 cups ice-cold water

For Filling:

  • 1 pound (450 g) fresh spinach (or chard)

  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese

  • 1 cup freshly grated parmigiano cheese

  • 6 eggs

  • Salt to taste

  • Ground black pepper to taste

Directions:


Prepare gluten-free puff pastry:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, xanthan gum, and salt. Mix well then add butter, shortening and mix using a dough cutter or rub the mixture with your fingers to the consistency of breadcrumbs. Butter should be pea sized.

  2. In a small bowl, mix eggs and two tablespoons of water then add to the flour and mix using a fork. Gradually add water, one tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough comes together and begins to form a sticky dough.

  3. Transfer dough to a working surface and knead until you have a very soft smooth dough. Divide the dough into two equal parts, shape each piece into a ball, then tightly wrap each piece with plastic and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.

Prepare the filling:

  1. Blanch spinach in a large pot of salted boiling water until bright green and slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Then drain the spinach and let it cool. Once cooled, squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible. Transfer spinach to a cutting board to chop.

  2. In a mixing bowl, add ricotta and mix well then add 1 egg, parmigiano cheese, salt, pepper and mix well. Add chopped spinach and mix until well combined.

Putting it all together:

  1. Preheat oven at 355 degrees F and butter a 9-inch springform pan then line with parchment paper.

  2. Remove dough from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. Transfer one piece of dough to a lightly dusted working surface, dust the top of the dough and roll out to about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick. If it begins to stick, add additional flour. Using your rolling pin, carefully lift the pastry and place it into your prepared pan. Don’t worry about trimming overhanging dough just yet. Use your fingers to press the sides of the pie into the ridges of the dish and prick the bottom all over with a fork.

  3. Transfer ricotta and spinach mixture to the pie dish and level out the top with a spatula. Using the back of a spoon, or an espresso cup, make 4 small holes in the spinach mixture and break one egg in each of the holes. Then place the pan in the refrigerator while rolling out the second piece of dough.

  4. Roll out the second piece of dough, remove pan from the refrigerator, and gently place it over the top of the mixture. Remove excess pastry using your hands or roll a rolling pin over the top of the pan. Then fold the two layers of pastry it towards the inside of the pan to seal the pie. If you like, you can use excess pastry to make festive decorations for the top.

  5. Whisk the remaining egg, brush it over the lid, then prick a few times with a fork. Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown in color. If the surface gets too dark, cover it with aluminium foil shiny side up.

  6. Let it cool in the pan for 30 minutes before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes:

  • Can substitute with pecorino cheese or use 1/2 parmigiano and 1/2 pecorino.

  • Store in an airtight container and in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.



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