Torta Pasqualina ~ Another traditional tart recipe, this one for Torta Pasqualina, or Italian Easter Pie, a traditional Ligurian recipe made each year to celebrate the Easter holiday. It is said that this pie should have 33 three layers in the crust to celebrate the number of years that Jesus spent on Earth, but generally most recipes contain fewer layers. Although it is time consuming to roll out each layer thin enough, you can also substitute puff pastry, which is readily available at most grocery stores. I usually make the traditional dough described below for my Torta Pasqualina but this Easter I was running short on time and not feeling well so I substituted puff pastry and loved how it turned out and think I’ll make my Easter pie with puff pastry from now on!
To end up with a crisp crust on your pie, it is important to squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the spinach. I also drain my ricotta in a sieve over a bowl for 30 minutes to an hour before I use it to remove any excess liquid as well. By using the puff pastry, this tasty pie is so easy that it should be enjoyed much more often throughout the year and not reserved solely for Easter celebrations!
Deborah Mele 2012
A savory ricotta and spinach pie from Liguria often made for Easter celebrations.
- 4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (Plus Additional For Brushing Layers)
- Dash Of Salt
- Water OR
- 2 Sheets Puff Pastry
- 1 1/2 Pound Spinach or Swiss Chard
- 3 Tablespoons Bread Crumbs
- 1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1 Pound Full Fat Ricotta Cheese, Drained
- 6 Eggs
- 1 Cup Cubed Ham
Egg Wash For Puff Pastry:
- 1 Large Egg
- If making the olive oil dough, put the flour on a clean surface into a mound, then add the salt, oil and enough water to make a smooth dough, about 1 cup.
- Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth, and divide the dough into 12 equal portions, and let rest for 1 hour, covered with a damp towel.
- If using puff pastry, allow the pastry to come to room temperature.
- While the dough is resting, begin to prepare the filling by cooking the spinach in a large pot.
- Drain, squeeze until very dry and chop, then season with salt and pepper.
- Add the crumbs to the spinach in a bowl, and add the ricotta, parmesan and cubed ham, and mix well.
- Beat two of the eggs, and fold into the spinach ricotta mixture.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- For the olive oil dough, roll out each ball dough thinly on a lightly floured surface, into an 11-12 inch circle.
- Brush a 10 inch baking dish, or spring-form pan with a little oil, and drape the first sheet of pastry over the pan, allowing an equal amount to overlap the rim.
- Brush pastry with oil, and continue to roll out another 5 layers, brushing oil between each layer.
- If using puff pastry, roll out the two layers until fairly thin, making them large enough to cover a 10 inch spring-form pan with a good overhang to cover the filling.
- Lay one layer over the other to cover the bottom and sids of the pan.
- Put the filling into the pan, smoothing it evenly.
- Make four hollows evenly spaced around the filling, and carefully crack the eggs into the hollows.
- For the olive oil dough version, roll out the remaining balls of dough, brushing with oil between each.
- Roll over the pie, and press the edges inward.
- Brush the top with oil, and prick the top carefully, being careful not top pierce the eggs.
- For the puff pastry version, fold the overhanging edges of pastry over the top of the pie, folding to fit.
- Beat the egg with a teaspoon of water and brush over the top of the puff pastry.
- Bake for about 60 minutes, or until the pie is golden brown.
- Serve warm, or at room temperature.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 569Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 213mgSodium: 693mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 4gSugar: 1gProtein: 29g
Hope you are feeling better! I also very much appreciate how much you educate your readers about Italian traditions and traditional recipes. It’s a rich heritage.
Thanks Terry, I am feeling better!
Oh my! This looks fabulous!!
I’m a big fan of home-cooked Italian food, and I’m also a lover of savoury pies and dishes, and I’ve got to say that this one looks like seaosnal heaven on a plate to me!
This brings back memories from when we lived in Varese. At Easter, even in bars they would serve small slices of this delicious torta wih your aperitif. Even though it isn’t Easter I am making one at the moment. The spinach is cooked and is draining. I have been searching for this recipe and did not find one that was practical to make. I am so looking forward to another taste of Italy. I have cooked a few of your recipes and they all have been amazing. The arancini were devoured in seconds and your bread recipe is the one I use to serve with most of our meals.
Grazie Mille Deborah.
Can you use Frozen Spinach?
Yes, it should work fine.
About how many packages of frozen spinach?
I’m going to sauté the veggies it’s tastier and easier. I’ve searched this receipt and they all are the same but I was intrigued by yours using a spring form pan. . I wish there were pictures of this and placing the dough in and finished
This recipe looks fabulous! I’ve been asked what I am making for Easter and I am singularly not inspired this year. I think I will treat my husband to your tart.
Lucy, hope you like it!
I love your recipe and will be making it at our next family gathering. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes.
How many packages of frozen spinach can you use?
I would think at least a pound.
My husband’s grandparents were from Italy and Easter tradition in south Jersey was ham pie, the heavy, meat laden, homemade crust pie, which I made once. Made the torta this Easter, everyone thought it was delish. It’s a keeper, and I will use it for a great make ahead brunch recipe.
Debbie, thanks for letting me know. I think it is a hame most folks make it for Easter only.
I have made this for three cooking contests in NY & FL
somewhat different than this recipe. My recipe is from both grandparents & mother from Parma.
I came in 1’st in one, and second in two contests over the years; the one I cam in 1’st was competing with mostly
well known chefs in region I was in.
After making this over 300 times in my life I have
finalilized a recipe that everyone I ever served it to
wants to take it home after they ate too much of it already.
Truly a primitive northern Italian provisional food that can be an appetizer. or meal.