Growing up in a community of Italians with rich cultural traditions , especially when it came to food , I looked forward to this tasty treat each Easter holiday . Easter pie is a doublecrust “ stuffed pizza ” filled with ham , eggs , and cheese . It is traditionally eaten in Italian households the day before Easter .
The Easter Pie I enjoyed , I ’ m afraid , had many more ingredients and took just about the entire day to make . This one is a little less extensive but has a great flavor and for today ’ s hurried pace , it ’ s great .
J . Chris Mickartz
5 cups Italian-Style Flour or 4¾ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour 2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons instant yeast 2 tablespoons sugar 6 tablespoons King Arthur Easy-Roll Dough Improver ( optional , but very helpful ); or nonfat dry milk 1 / 4 cup olive oil 1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water *
* If you use all-purpose flour , increase the water to 1½ cups ( 12 ounces )
1 dozen large eggs 1 pound good-quality , full-flavored ham 2 cups ricotta cheese , part-skim preferred 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese , lightly packed Salt , coarsely ground black pepper , and chopped fresh parsley , to taste
1 large egg 2 tablespoons sugar
1 ) Mix and knead together all of the dough ingredients — by hand , in a mixer , or in a bread machine — until you ’ ve made a soft , smooth dough .
2 ) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl , cover , and allow it to rise for 1 to 2 hours , until it ’ s quite puffy , nearly doubled in bulk . While the dough is rising , make the filling .
3 ) Hard-boil and peel 6 of the eggs .
4 ) Place the hard-boiled eggs , ham ( cut in chunks ), and fresh parsley ( ½ cup or so ) in the work bowl of a food processor . Process until chopped and combined . Don ’ t overprocess ; the ham and eggs should still be a bit chunky . You can also simply dice the eggs and ham , and chop the parsley , if you don ’ t have a food processor .
5 ) Combine the ham , boiled eggs , and parsley with the raw eggs , ricotta , and Parmesan . Season to taste with salt and about ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper . If the ham is salty , you may not need any salt at all .
6 ) Deflate the dough , and divide it into four pieces .
7 ) Roll two of the dough pieces into rounds about 13 ” in diameter , and place them on lightly greased or parchment-lined 12 ” pizza pans . Or roll into ovals about 10 ” x 14 ”, and place on two lightly greased or parchmentlined baking sheets . Note : If you ’ re using parchment , it ’ s easiest to roll right on the parchment , then lift the crusts , parchment and all , onto the pans .
8 ) Divide the filling evenly between the two crusts , covering them to within 1 ” of their edges . You ’ ll use a generous 3 cups ( about 27 ounces ) for each crust .
9 ) Roll out the other two pieces of dough , and place them atop the filled crusts , gently stretching them , if necessary , to cover the filling . Seal the crust edges by rolling the bottom crust up over the top , and pinching together .
10 ) Using a sharp knife or pair of scissors , cut a 1 ” hole in the very center of each top crust ; this will allow steam to escape .
11 ) Make the topping by whisking together the egg and sugar until the sugar has dissolved . Paint each crust with some of the topping ; this will yield a golden brown , shiny crust with mildly sweet flavor , a perfect foil for the salty ham .
12 ) Allow the pies to rest while you preheat your oven to 350 ° F , about 15 minutes . They don ’ t need to be covered .
13 ) Bake the pies for about 25 minutes , until they ’ re a deep , golden brown . ( We allowed 15 more minutes with foil on top to prevent burning .) Remove them from the oven , and carefully slide them off the pan / parchment and onto a rack to cool .
14 ) Serve warm or at room temperature . Refrigerate any leftovers .
This recipe will yield 2 large pies . We served it with homestyle fried potatoes and fresh berries , granola and yogurt .