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Torta Pasqualina

Torta Pasqualina, Italian Easter Pie

  • Author: Nicoletta and Loreto
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 1 cake baked in a 22/24 cm springform pan 1x
  • Category: Appetizer, Vegetarian
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 300/350 g flour type 00 (plus more for the work surface)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup lukewarm water

Filling:

  • 500 g organic baby spinach
  • 500 g organic tender small leaf chard (we’ll use just the leaves not the stems)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Salt to taste
  • 600 g cow fresh Ricotta
  • 12 Tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg

Brushing:

  • ½ tsp salt
  • few drops water
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 34 Tbsp olive oil

Filling design:

  • 8 eggs
  • a pinch salt
  • a dash ground pepper
  • a sprinkle Parmigiano

Instructions

Dough:

  1. Put the flour in a bowl with the olive oil and salt, then slowly add ½ cup of lukewarm water.
  2. Work the dough with your hands, gently, to obtain a soft, elastic dough (adding water if needed) until it no longer sticks to your hands (try not to add more flour than 350 grams, as this will make the dough too hard).
  3. Place dough on a floured work surface and knead it till it becomes smooth, silky and compact.
  4. Form a loaf and set it to rest in a loaf pan, at least 1 hour, covered with a damp cloth so that it remains soft, while in the meantime preparing the filling.

Filling:

  1. Wash and spin dry the spinach and chard. If the chard leaves are big and not tender, blanch them in boiling water until tender.
  2. Finely chop a small onion and put it into a large saute pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic whole and 1 tablespoon of butter. Saute at medium heat until the onion becomes translucent. Toss in the spinach, chard and marjoram. Saute until tender, adding some water, if necessary to facilitate the cooking process. Season with salt. Take off heat and set aside to cool in a colander to drain excess water.
  3. Take the ricotta, pour it into a large bowl and mash with a fork, until it becomes soft. Add greek yogurt and stir. Chop finely the cold greens and add them to the ricotta, stirring the mixture well.
  4. Add one egg at a time to the mixture, continue stirring until absorbed before adding the next egg.
  5. Finally sprinkle in the grated Parmigiano, white pepper and nutmeg.
  6. Give a final stir until mixture is well incorporated.

Dough sheets:

  1. In a small pan over low heat, add ½ teaspoon salt and few drops of water. When the salt has dissolved, add 1 tablespoon of butter and 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. When melted, remove from the heat and let it cool. Set aside. You need this mixture to brush the sheets.
  2. Take the cake pan, possibly a springfold or with a removable bottom, size 20/22 cm and with high sides. Oil it very well, bottom, sides and upper rim
  3. Cut the dough into 5 pieces, 2 bigger (for the bottom of the pan) and 3 smaller (for the top).
  4. Work one piece of dough at a time, the rest should remain covered to preserve the moisture and thus the elasticity of the dough.
  5. Dust very little flour on a work surface, just enough to prevent the dough from sticking while spreading.
  6. With a rolling pin, spread the dough until you obtain a disc almost the same circumference of the cake pan. At this point, placing the disc of dough on the back of your floured hands, gently proceed to widen it even further until obtaining a greater circumference so that the dough spills from the edge of the pan of 2-3 cm (the edges will be on the top, folded onto themselves and closed towards the inside).
  7. It’s important that the upper rim of the pan is well-oiled to prevent the dough from sticking and breaking.

Assembly:

  1. Place the first sheet into the pan, and dip a small pastry brush (soft bristle) in the butter/oil and lightly brush the sheet, starting from the center, then the inner and outer edges of the pastry and the top rim. Be very careful to keep a very light brush to not break the dough. Also, the butter/oil must be well dissolved and never hot to not break the dough.
  2. Place the second sheet on top of the first one and repeat the same light brushing with the butter/oil.
  3. If few air bubbles form between the layers, it will be sufficient to lift a bit the sheet from the edge of the pan to let the air out.
  4. Once prepared the bottom of the cake, add the cold filling, gently spreading it until it fills the whole pan. Then, with the back of a spoon, create in the filling 8 “holes” (not too deep as to see the dough underneath), 7 around and 1 in the center, where you’re going to break the eggs.
  5. Carefully break the eggs in the holes, avoiding to break the yolks.
  6. Sprinkle on each egg a pinch of salt, a dash of pepper, and some grated Parmigiano.
  7. Spread the remaining 3 pieces of dough into 3 sheets that will be laid to cover the filling, making sure to repeat the butter/oil gently brushing on each of them.
  8. At this point, the excess dough on the edges must be folded and rolled gently inside of the pan, creating a “rope” all around (if it’s too much, cut it with a knife and discard). Brush the top of the cake with butter/oil.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven (at the lowest rack) at 180° C (350° F), for 45 minutes to 1 hour according to your oven, or until golden brown, checking the oven from time to time. In case the top part is getting too dark, create a round foil disc to cover the top of the cake.
  10. Take out of the oven and let cool completely before serving.
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