Rebecca’s recipe of the week: An Easter Pie

April 13, 2017 by General Administrator

This Easter I am going to try a new recipe: a Torta Pasqualina, or Italian Easter Tart. It combines creamy ricotta with fresh greens baked in a flaky crust—so it’s a bit like a Greek spanakopita. To give it an Easter twist you crack some whole eggs onto the greens before baking. When the finished tart is sliced you get a lovely mass of green with little pockets of soft-cooked egg nestled under the crust. Very seasonal! I’ve been meaning to try this for ages.

Ricotta, Spinach and Egg Easter Tart (Torta Pasqualina)
Serves 6-8

pastry
160g cold butter, diced
250g plain flour
200g ricotta
pinch of salt
a little beaten egg or milk to brush over the top of the tart

filling
600g kale, spinach, chard or other mixed greens
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large onions, chopped
300g ricotta
6 eggs plus extra for brushing
Salt and black pepper
80g parmesan, grated
A pinch of nutmeg

Make the pastry: Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the ricotta and a pinch of salt, mix and bring together into a soft ball. Turn the pastry on to a floured work surface and knead until smooth. Cover with clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.

Make the filling: Bring a pot of water to the boil. Meanwhile pick over the greens, discarding any tough stalks and discoloured leaves, then wash them. Working in batches, add some of them to a pan. Bring back to the boil and cook for a few minutes, just long enough to wilt the greens. Remove the cooked greens to a colander and repeat with the remaining greens. When they’re all cooked let them drain for at least 10 minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle, use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible, and then chop roughly.

Heat the olive oil in a pan until warm and then add the chopped onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, and then add the greens. Stir and heat for a few minutes and then remove from the heat. Mix in the ricotta, 2 lightly beaten eggs, salt, pepper, parmesan and nutmeg.

Butter and flour a 26cm round tin, preheat your oven to 190C and put a flat baking tray in to get hot.

Cut the dough into two pieces, one twice the size of the other. On a floured surface roll the larger piece into a circle large enough to fill the tin, come up the sides and hang over the edge. Lift the dough into the tin and press it in. Add the filling. Using a spoon, make four deep indents in the mixture. Break the remaining four eggs into these indentations.

Roll the smaller piece of dough into a disc large enough to generously cover the top of the tin. Place it over the top of the tart and, using wet fingertips, press the dough to make a firm seal, and then fold any excess dough back towards the centre to make a little fringe. Prick or slash the centre of the tart. Paint the top with beaten egg or milk, put onto the hot baking tray, and bake for 50 minutes or until golden.

Allow to cool a little before turning out. Serve warm or at room temperature.

(Recipe adapted from Rachel Roddy, The Guardian and New York Time Cooking.)

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