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Torta Pasqualina

Torta pasqualina – Easter pie

PT1H

PT1H

Torta Pasqualina, or Easter Pie, is a well-known Italian Easter tradition. Originally from Liguria, in north-west Italy, it’s now popular all over the peninsula.

The original recipe contained artichoke, but quite common variations use chard leaves, or as in this case, spinach. This reminds me of the wonderful spinach and ricotta pies I used to eat in Venice as a teenager.

The pie is made with puff pastry, but in the past it’s said to have been made with thirty-three sheets of very thin pastry, one for every year of Jesus’ life.

The most important aspect of the torta pasqualina is the eggs baked inside. When you cut the pie you should see the egg sliced through the middle in what’s a beautiful and festive effect. To help with this, I always score a cross in the top of the pie so that you can see where to cut.

Ingredients

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1
Wash the spinach leaves carefully under cold running water to get rid of any sand or grit. Shake off the excess water and put them directly into a large saucepan with a lid
2
Turn the heat on low, cover them and leave to wilt for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the spinach to cool completely
3
When the spinach is cool, put it into a blender and whizz for a few seconds to chop it into small pieces. Alternatively, you could do this with a knife. Then, in a bowl, mix the spinach with the ricotta cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix in 1 egg
4
Butter a deep 20cm cake tin and line it with one of the sheets of puff pastry. Pour in the spinach mixture and transfer the tin to the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes
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5
Carefully make four large holes in the spinach mixture with a spoon, big enough to take an entire egg each. Then break 1 egg into each of the holes
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6
Cut an 18cm circle out of the second sheet of puff pastry. Place it carefully over the top of the mixture, and use a sharp knife to score a cross in the pastry over the eggs so that when you come to cut the pie you will cut the eggs in half
7
Beat the remaining egg with a fork and paint the disc of pastry with it. Gently fold down the edges of the pastry lining to join up with the disk and seal the pie. Paint the top of the pie with the beaten egg and put the whole thing in the fridge for 30 minutes
8
While the pie is in the fridge, preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
9
Remove the pie from the fridge and, if you want to, score a pattern on the top of the pie with a sharp knife. Make a small hole in the centre of the pie with the knife, paint one final layer of beaten egg on the top, and bake it in the oven for 1 hour
10
Allow the pie to cool completely, and then cut into eight portions using the cross on the top as a guide
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