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Torta Pasqualina – Easter Pie

For this pie you need a 28-30cm-spring form baking tin, brush the bottom and sides with oil.

torta

Ingredients

For the pastry

450g  flour
sea salt
45ml  extra virgin olive oil
90ml  warm water

For the filling

Extra virgin Olive oil
1.2 kg silver beet, white stalks removed and leaves cut into thin strips
1 white onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed with the blade of a knife
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 handful flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
7 eggs
120g  grated Parmesan cheese
3 sprigs marjoram leaves roughly chopped + leaves for sprinkling
300g  ricotta cheese

Make the pastry

To make the pastry place the flour in a mound on a clean flat work surface, form a well in the middle sprinkle some salt all over and pour in the olive oil. Start kneading adding a bit of warm water as required to achieve a smooth and soft dough, about 5 minutes.   Divide the dough into 6 balls making one larger than the others which will be used for the first layer at the base of the pie which is folded up and over the filing. Flour the bottom of a ceramic container, and place the 6 balls of dough in it. Cover with a damp tea towel and let them rest for one hour.

Prepare the filling

Heat 60 ml of olive oil in a heavy based frying pan over a low heat. Add the onions and garlic and stir with a wooden spoon. Just as the garlic starts to change colour, discard it and continue cooking the onions until they are soft and translucent. At this point add the silver beets to the pan, season with salt and add the parsley and mix thoroughly and continue to cook over a low heat for three minutes.

Drain the silver beet mix of the cooking fats and place them in a bowl. Break two eggs and beat them with a little salt and pepper and pour over the silver beets, add all the ricotta and all but one tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese, and stir in the marjoram.

You can start building the pie now, flattening the layers of pastry one by one as you need them.

Flour the working surface, take the bigger ball of dough and first, with your fists, then with the rolling pin, flatten it until really thin, almost like silk. Line the base and sides of the prepared cake tin with dough letting it overhang the sides.

With a brush gently oil the surface of this first layer of pastry. Roll out another thin sheet of dough and place it on top of the first one without squashing it. Again with a brush delicately oil the surface. Roll out the third sheet of dough and place it on top of the second. This one must not be oiled. Instead place the silver beets and cheese mixture on top and uniformly flatten the surface. Sprinkle with some more marjoram leaves.

With the back of a tablespoon make five wells in the ricotta and silver beet mix. Break one egg into each hole, being careful to leave the yolk intact.  On each egg pour a few drops of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and scatter the remaining Parmesan cheese on top.

Now you are ready to close the pie. Roll another sheet of very thin dough and cover the filling with it.  Brush the surface with oil and place the remaining two sheets on top in the same manner.  Fold the overhanging pastry over the top to seal the pie. Prick some holes on the surface with a fork, being careful not to break the eggs and brush the top with a little more olive oil.

Bake in an oven at 180ºC for 60 minutes or until the crust is golden brown

Buon appetito e Buona Pasqua.