With Easter Sunday just a few days away, I wanted to share with you an easy recipe for Torta Pasqualina, an Italian Easter classic! Torta Pasqualina celebrates Spring and the awakening of nature. It's ideal for your Easter lunch, especially for picnics. This creation features several layers of puff pastry, and the filling is traditionally made with artichokes*, ricotta cheese and hard-boiled eggs, which are lovely hidden surprises.
It has very ancient origins: it was already well-known in the 1400s and linked to Easter celebrations. Not only because it contains eggs, but also because it was meant to be made with 33 layers of pastry, as many as the years of Jesus' life. Though you could make the pastry by hand, I highly recommend store-bought. Layer after layer, Torta Pasqualina will win you over with its delicious homey flavour. Are you ready to share it with friends and family?
*However, since they are quite expensive/hard to find, many people use spinach, herbs or chard leaves. I always use spinach, so that's what I'm sharing with you today.
- - 1.5 kg washed spinach or chards;
- - 500g ricotta cheese (cow's milk);
- - 8 medium eggs;
- - 190g grated parmesan;
- - ½ onion;
- - 3 sprigs of marjoram (thyme will work as well)
- - nutmeg to taste;
- - salt and black pepper to taste;
- - 25g extra-virgin olive oil.
- First things first, cut the onion into cubes and let it soften in a pan with olive oil, until it becomes translucent, and then add the spinach (or chards) and season with salt and pepper. Let it cook until it wilts; then take off the heat, transfer to a sieve or colander to drain off any excess moisture. Chop the veg into smaller pieces and transfer to a bowl.
- To the chopped spinach add 2 of your eggs, 50g of parmesan, finely chopped marjoram (or herbs of your choice) and seasoning to taste. Mix well to combine.
- In another bowl, whip up the ricotta until it's soft and smooth. Add 2 eggs, 90g of parmesan, nutmeg and salt, and mix well to combine (preferably with an electric whisk) until the mixture is creamy and has no lumps.
- Now, you have a choice here: some prefer to keep the spinach and ricotta layers separate, while some prefer to mix them together (I'm one of them!).
- Time for the pastry! Grease a 30cm cake tin with olive oil. Line the t
in gently with puff pastry until it perfectly adheres to the tin's sides.
- Pour in the spinach and ricotta mixture and level with a spoon to create an even layer.
- With a spoon, create 4 little holes or indentations in the mixture to make space for the eggs, I like to space them out around the circumference.
- Very carefully, break the eggs into the spaces you've created.
- Over the eggs, lightly salt them, sprinkle the leftover parmesan and cover the pie with the other layer of pastry. Seal the edges of the bottom and top layers of pastry together (you can crimp, use a fork, or any preferred method), and then brush the top with an egg wash, to make the crust lovely and golden brown during cooking.
- Bake in the lower part of a preheated oven at 180° for 55 minutes (160° for 45 minutes in a fan oven). Let it cool to room temperature.
Once cut into slices, your pie will reveal a vibrant green layer with a surprise egg in the middle. Torta Pasqualina: easy Easter recipe ready to be enjoyed for your Easter lunch.