Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day 99 - 8 April 2012 - Buona Pasqua!


Day 99 is Easter Sunday. Happy Easter!  For lunch today I made Torta Pasqualina (Easter Pie).  Last night I made a delicious roast lamb, but unfortunately, no photos.

Here is the lunch plate:

This is what the pie looked like whole:
Yes, that's bunnies running around the edge. :-)
How did I get the bunnies to be whiter than the rest of the pastry? I used egg wash on the pastry and then added the bunnies afterwards with no egg wash.
One of my friends asked me for the recipe, so I am going to attempt to give it to you here. The basic recipe idea and technique I got from the Italian website Giallo Zafferano. It's in Italian, so if you don't speak Italian it won't be fully useful, but the pictures might help you. There is also a useful video. I did not use their recipe totally, because first of all I did not have the right amount of ingredients, and second of all I always tend to make my own version of things, even when I'm "following" the recipe.

Torta Pasqualina
300g - 500g of fresh spinach leaves
1/2 onion diced
olive oil
500g ricotta
150g parmigiano reggiano (good parmesan)
10 eggs (you may want to add extra, if you are making a bigger pie, or serving more people)
puff pastry (this is what I used, you can use filo, or you can do it the Italian way and make lots of layers of pastry yourself) I used three sheets of ready-made, but this depends on the size of your pie dish.

Cook onion slowly over low heat in a good slosh of olive oil until it is soft and clear (the low heat is important to get the sweet flavour). Add salt and pepper. Then add chopped spinach leaves and cook them (still on low heat) until they "melt" (soft and floppy). Set aside to cool.
Line oiled pie dish with puff pastry (I used a square pyrex dish, but would have used a deep pie dish if I had one).
Mix ricotta with 1/3 of the parmesan, a sprinkle of nutmeg, some pepper, and three eggs.
Mix spinach and onion mixture with two eggs and 1/3 parmesan.
Add spinach mix to bottom of pie.
Add ricotta mix on top of spinach layer and use spoon to make little nests for the egg yolks to sit. Sprinkle over some parmesan.
Separate eggs (I used 5). Keep whites aside and add yolk to the nests in the ricotta mix.
Mix egg whites slightly and then spread evenly over top of ricotta layer and egg yolks. Add remaining parmesan on top of egg white. Keep a little egg white aside for the top of the pie.
Top pie with puff pastry and join the bottom and top edges and fold them back into the pie dish. Brush a little egg white over pie crust. This gives you a shiny, golden brown finish.
Cook for about 45minutes in 180 degrees celcius oven.
Serve warm or cold, it is great either way.

I have made this pie before and just mixed the spinach and ricotta all together, and it tastes just as good. It doesn't look as pretty when served, and you don't get the separate flavours of the spinach and the ricotta.  I also make this using silverbeet, which gives you a stronger (equally delicious) flavour.

Okay, change of topic. The theme for April Photo a Day today was "What's in Your Wallet". Here is the photo of my wallet.
Yep, not much there other than a lot of cards, a photo, and $10.25 in cash.


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