This fabulous Easter Pie recipe is courtesy of Lucio Galletto of Lucio's restaurant in Paddington, Sydney which sadly closed last year. Lucio is a charming and generous host and very knowledgeable about the food from the region of Liguria on the north west coast of Italy. There are a few steps involved, but the ingredients are easy to find and not expensive.
- plain flour - 450g
- sea salt
- extra virgin olive oil - 45 ml, plus approx 90ml warm water
- extra virgin olive oil
- silver beet - 1.2kg, white stalks removed and leaves cut into thin strips
- white onion - 1, peeled and finely chopped
- garlic - 2 cloves, crushed with the blade of a knife
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- flat parsley leaves - 1 handful, finely chopped
- eggs - 7
- parmesan cheese - 120g, grated
- marjoram - 3 sprigs, leaves only, chopped, plus some for sprinkling
- ricotta cheese - 300g
Pre-heat oven to 180degC. Brush the bottom and sides of a 28-30cm springform baking tin with olive oil.
For 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 onion and garlic and stir with a wooden spoon. Just as the garlic starts to change colour, discard it and continue cooking the onion until soft and translucent. Add the silver beet to the pan, season with salt and add the parsley. Combine thoroughly and continue to cook over low heat for three minutes.
Drain the cooking oil from the silver beet mixture and place in a bowl. In a separate bowl, break two eggs and beat them with a little salt and pepper and pour over the silver beets. Add the ricotta and all but one tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese; 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 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 beet/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 pre-heated oven for one hour or until the crust is golden brown.
Buon appetito e Buona Pasqua.