Pizzagaina / Recipes

Pizzagaina Italian Easter Pie

Prep time: 2 days – 45 minutes
Baking time: 45 – 50 minutes
Approximate Yield: 14 portions 4-6 oz. each slice

Kitchen equipment needed:
1 ea. chef knife & 1 ea. paring knife
1 ea. set of measuring spoons & measuring cups
1 ea. pair oven mitts
2 ea. cutting board for dicing meat
1 ea. large rubber spatula & large whisk
3 ea. large mixing bowl for (cubed meats, cheese batter , pie dough )
1 ea. Baking pan or ceramic casserole dish to bake Pie
1 ea. Hand mixer or electric culinary mixer if needed
8 ea. large dinner plates heated

Ingredients Meats
*Note: Dice all meat 1-2 days in advance let soak in water in Refrigerator until ready to use
211/2 lbs. smoked ham , diced & soaked
1/4 lb. prosciutto, diced & soaked
1/4 lb. sopresatta, diced & soaked
1/4 lb. Capicola (spiced-hot Capicola) diced & soaked
1/4 lb. pepperoni, diced & soaked
1/4 lb. genoa salami, diced & soaked

1 lb. Italian cheese (FRESH BASKET CHEESE, AKA Easter cheese or Farmer’s Cheese)
3 lbs. ricotta cheese
5 tablespoons parmesan & pecorino blend cheese
15 eggs

Pie dough for crust or prepared store bought pie crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. nutmeg ground
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into small pieces or 1 cup Crisco butter flavored
1 ea. large egg cracked & whisked
4 to 5 tbsp.  Of water that meats were soaked in, Adds flavor to dough

Step (1) Combine the flour, salt, and sugar, baking powder, black pepper, and nutmeg, in a large bowl combine well until the mixture is aerated. Using a pastry cutter or dough blender or your fingers, cut the butter or shortening into the dry ingredients until it’s in pea-size pieces that are slightly yellow in color, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drizzle in 4 tablespoons of the cold brine water from refrigerated meat and mix just until the dough comes together. (Add the last tablespoon of brine water if necessary, but don’t overwork the dough or it’ll become tough. Shape the dough into a flat disk, cover it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, then use the dough rolling it out a little thicker than traditional pie dough us.

Step (2) one or two days before cube all meat combine and mix well let soak in water completely covered this extracts the salt and makes meat more palatable. The day of making the pie combine in large bowl combine ricotta & basket cheese mix thoroughly until very smooth use hand blender or mixer if needed. Add 15 eggs, parmesan cheese Hand stir and fold in with spatula. Drain the cubed soaked meat for 5 minutes until well drained , stir meat into batter mixture mix well. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to fill pie shell

Step (3) spray baking pan generously with food release. Roll out & lay dough in baking pan. Add the combined batter and meat mixture previously set aside, then top with additional layer of dough and pinch bottom & top dough seams together tightly. Make Easter Cross with large fork to vent, cover top with foil  Bake 350º 45-50 minute check pie  by Insert toothpick if pick comes out clean Pizzagaina is done. Uncover and bake 10 minutes to lightly brown .Cover pie with foil, and refrigerate. Serve noon or later on Easter Sunday