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Torta Pasqualina

Italian Torta Pasqualina: Savory Spring Vegetarian Torte



Torta Pasqualina is a Celebration of Spring in the form of a Traditional Italian Savory Easter Vegetarian Pie (Step-by-Step Images)
Course Savory Pie
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 8 servings
Author Valerie Lugonja via Nicoletta and Loreto from SugarLoveSpices

Ingredients

Ingredients for the Dough:

  • 350 grams 00 flour , plus more for the work surface
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 70 grams tepid water

Ingredients for Filling One:

  • 1 kilo Spring greens: 500 grams organic baby spinach and 500 grams organic tender small leaf chard , stems removed
  • 100 grams onion , minced
  • 1 clove garlic , whole
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 600 grams fresh cow Ricotta (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (see note)
  • 2 organic know-your-farmer eggs
  • 50-75 grams Parmigianino Reggiano , grated
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground whole nutmeg (about ½ a nutmeg)

Ingredients for Preparing the Pan:

  • Springform pan with removable bottom , size 20/22 cm with high sides or 10 inch Springform (12 inch will work, but deep dish torte is better with smaller circumference and higher sides)
  • Olive oil

Ingredients for Butter-Oil Mixture:

  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients for Filling Two:

  • 7-9 eggs
  • a pinch salt (I used Vegeta)
  • a dash white pepper
  • a sprinkle freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)

Instructions

Instructions for Making the Dough:

  1. In medium bowl, place 300 grams flour, olive oil and salt; while stirring, slowly add ½ cup lukewarm water until ingredients clump into a ball
  2. Work or knead, still in bowl, to obtain soft, elastic ball that no longer sticks to hands (Do not add more flour than 350 grams, as dough will become tough.)
  3. Lightly flour work surface; knead till dough becomes smooth, silky and compact
  4. Form into ball; set to proof in bowl for at least 1 hour, covered with damp cloth

Instructions for Making the Dough in the Thermomix:

  1. Weigh flour, olive oil, salt and water into TM bowl; set time at 10 seconds, speed at 5-6 and combine until ingredients just begin to clump into ball
  2. Set knead for 1.5 minutes; ingredients will cluster into small balls
  3. Remove from TM bowl; form into ball and set to proof in bowl for minimum of 1 hour, covered with damp cloth

Instructions for Filling One:

  1. Wash and spin-dry spinach and chard leaves; mince onion
  2. In large sauté pan, place 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic clove and 1 tablespoon butter with the onions; sauté at medium heat until onion is translucent (2-3 minutes)

  3. Add spinach, chard and marjoram to pan, in two batches; sauté until wilted then cook gently for about 15 more minutes, until chard stems are tender
  4. Place greens in colander; set aside to cool and drain
  5. In large bowl, combine ricotta add yogurt; stir to completely combine
  6. Finely chop and gently squeeze cooled greens; add to ricotta mixture, stirring to fully incorporate
  7. Whisk an egg into ricotta mixture, stirring until completely absorbed; add and repeat for second egg
  8. Add grated Parmigiano, pepper and nutmeg; stirring to fully incorporate
  9. Taste, adjust seasonings; set aside

Instructions for Preparing Pan:

  1. Oil pan very well, bottom, sides and upper rim

Instructions for Preparing Butter-Oil Mixture:

  1. In small pan over low heat, add ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon few drops of water ; stir until dissolved
  2. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 3-4 tablespoons olive oil; when melted, remove from
  3. heat and set aside

Instructions for Rolling Dough:

  1. Weigh dough; divide into 5 pieces: 2 larger for covering bottom of pan and 3 smaller for top (my dough was 500 grams: 2x125 gram pieces and 3x80 gram pieces)
  2. Work each piece of dough at a time, starting with larger two; leave remaining pieces covered
  3. Dust work surface sparsely with flour; with rolling pin, roll until sheet size circumference of spring form pan is achieved
  4. Place dough, gently, on back of floured hands; work to stretch until obtaining a round dough sheet large enough to cover bottom, come up and hang over sides of spring form pan (do this for two larger pieces, only)

Instructions for Putting it All Together:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180° C or 350° F, ensuring rack is in middle
  2. Place first dough sheet into prepared pan; gently push into place around bottom and up sides to leave hangover
  3. Lightly and gently brush sheet with butter-oil mixture starting from center, then inner and outer edges of pastry and top rim. (Be very gentle to not break dough when brushing)
  4. Place second sheet on top of first; repeat same light brushing process (If air bubbles form between the layers, lift sheet from edge of pan to release)
  5. Place filling into bottom of pan in middle; gently spread toward edges until evenly filling pan

Instructions for Filling Two:

  1. With back of spoon, create 7-9 "cradles" in filling (depending upon circumference of pan), equal distance from one another: 6-8 around sides and 1 in center (indentations should be halfway into filling, but not to bottom)
  2. Carefully break each egg into separate bowl; separate yolk and lift yolk out with hand
  3. Starting with middle, use spoon to enable yolk to sink into indentation "hole" by holding sides of filling back and deepening the indentation; release yolk into deepened indentation
  4. Repeat until all yolks are in nestled in position; cover each with albumen (will be very little used from each egg)
  5. Season each with a pinch of salt (or Vegeta), a dash of pepper, and grated Parmigiano (optional)
  6. Prepare each of remaining three pieces of dough to approximately 2 inches larger than circumference of spring form pan; cover filling with 1 sheet of dough to overhang generously (at least 2 inches)
  7. Brush with butter-oil; layer second sheet and brush repeating with third sheet

Finishing the Edges of the Torta:

  1. Remove more than 2 inches of overhanging dough from around edges of spring form pan
  2. Fold excess dough overhanging edges and roll gently inside of pan to create a “rope” around edge
  3. Brush top of torte with butter-oil mixture
  4. Bake on middle rack for 55-60 minutes, or until golden brown (see note); check oven from time to time to prevent surface from becoming too dark (cover with foil, if necessary)
  5. Remove from oven; cool for 20 minutes to set inside firmly enough to slice
  6. Serve warm or cold for Easter breakfast, brunch, lunch or anytime !

Recipe Notes

Chard
If the chard leaves are big and not tender, blanch in boiling water for 1 minute, until tender
Pastry
Butter-oil must be well dissolved and completely cooled to not break through dough when brushing on
It's important that the upper rim of the pan is well-oiled to prevent the dough from sticking and breaking
Baking Time
Torta will be completely baked in one hour; if top isn't golden, turn oven on to broil and watch carefully 2-3 minutes until good colour is achieved
Serving Temperature
It is delicious hot or cold, but you must try it warm, or hot. I find it exceedingly better that way! MMmmmmm1