Sunday, March 24, 2013

Savory Easter pie

After abstaining from meat for the forty days of Lent (back when one did abstain from meat -- and dairy and eggs -- for the forty days of Lent), one’s craving for these things must have been immense. It’s then easy to understand how a savory pie that contains pounds of meat and cheese bound together only with eggs came about. 

Pizza rustica, as it's sometimes known among Italians, is rich, decadent, and utterly delicious.  It's not vegan, vegetarian, kosher, low-fat, low-cal, but damn, it's magnificently good.  The pizza rustica is a quiche, though a typical French-style quiche would be made with eggs and cream binding the ingredients together.  This uses just eggs.

This recipe makes four standard nine-inch pies. I would suggest you use your favorite pie-crust recipe, or simply use store-bought Pillsbury pie crusts, which I must confess, are pretty damn good.  Make the whole recipe, and give the pies away as gifts.  You'll have friends for life.

Mom always seemed to make her meat pies on Good Friday, and we wouldn't be able to taste them until Saturday morning.  She's smarter than we ever imagined!!

1 1/2 lbs ham, cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 8-oz pepperoni, peeled and diced
1 lb whole-milk ricotta
1 basket (1 lb) farmer cheese, diced
1 lb  whole-milk mozzarella, diced
6 hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
1 Tbp black pepper
1 c grated pecorino cheese
12 eggs, beaten

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Add beaten eggs and mix well.  Ladle into crusts.  Cover with a lattice top crust, if desired.  Bake at 350°F until mixture is fully set, 55-60 minutes, until the egg custard is set.

 I used half of this 3-lb ham, cut into thick slices, then cubed.

 An 8-oz pepperoni, skin removed, sliced, then diced. 

 "Farmer," or "basket" cheese, readily available in supermarkets in the Philadelphia area around Easter, though I would imagine less available elsewhere.  If you cannot find it, a ricotta salata would work well.  

 Farmer cheese, cubed. 

 Whole-milk mozzarella.  I used supermarket mozz, and would
not use a high-quality fresh mozzarella for this -- it's far too moist.  

 Pie crust laid into the pie plate.  You can see a bit of overhang. 

 Overhang, tucked under itself around the rim.  

 Edges crimped.  

 Cheese and meat mixture ladled into pie crusts, and the pies set into the oven.

 My scribbled notes as I assembled the ingredients.  As if often the case, I might start
with a written recipe, but will always keep notes of what I actually do.

The product of the morning's labors.  

1 comment:

  1. This is a new inspiration for many people. Thank you for sharing with us.


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