Torta Pasqualina: the recipe of the Ligurian savory tart with greens, ricotta, and eggs.
WHAT IS TORTA PASQUALINA
Torta Pasqualina is a Ligurian savory tart made for Easter celebrations.
Five puff pastry layers embrace a mixture of ricotta, swiss chard, and parmesan cheese, covered by crack open eggs.
the last cookbooks
In the past, the puff pastry layers were thirty-three, as Jesus Christ years. Out-of-this-universe housewives used their rolling pins masterfully and made, with the same puff pastry quantity, discs that thin! Nowadays, five to ten layers are considered more than enough.
Another nice-to-know fact is that Ligurian families used to make their own tart, engrave the rim with the family anagram, and take it to the town bakery to have it baked in the big communal oven.
When made in other seasons but Spring, chards are substituted with spinaches, artichokes, onions, or pumpkin.
HOW TO MAKE THE TORTA PASQUALINA
Besides the puff pastry, making the Torta Pasqualina is not complicated.
Basically, you cook the vegetables, smash them and mix them with the ricotta and parmesan cheese. You form two cavities and crack open the eggs inside. Cover with the remaining puff pastry and bake.
But the traditional recipe calls for an intermediate step: blowing air inside the tart before sealing the top to create an air chamber that makes the surface crispier. No big deal, you simply plug in a straw, blow, and hastily seal the puff pastry. You might need to try a couple of times, but in the end, it is fun.
Anyway, some skip this step altogether, and you can too!
Ligurian Torta Pasqualina
for the puff pastry
- 7 oz 00 flour + something more for the mold 1 cup + 2 tablespoons or 200 gr
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of salt
for the filling
- 8.8 oz swiss chard 250 gr
- 1/2 onion
- 3.5 oz ricotta 100 gr
- 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2 marjoram sprigs
- extra virgin olive oil
Place the flour, the water, the salt, and the olive oil in a bowl or mixer bowl - kneading hook on. Mix the ingredients with a fork until you get lumps, then work with your hands until you get a smooth dough that won't stick to your hands. If you are using a mixer, let it do all the magic.
Cover the dough with a kitchen cloth and set it aside while you prepare the filling.
Clean the chard leaves and coarsely chop them.
Peel and finely chop the onion. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook it, medium heat, until golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the chard sprinkled with a pinch of salt, cover, and cook, medium/low heat, until mushy - about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely chop the marjoram leaves.
Place the ricotta cheese in a bowl, add a pinch of salt, and the parmesan cheese - grated at the moment if you want it really flavorful.
Add a few grinds of pepper and marjoram, and mix well to incorporate.
When the chard is cooked, drain it well and add it to the ricotta bowl. Mix well and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Take back the dough and divide it into five pieces. Form five balls and roll out each one with a rolling pin, thin enough to make them as large as the mold plus one third.
Grease the pan with a teaspoon of oil, discard the excess, and add a tablespoon of flour. Shake and incline the mold to make sure the flour adheres to the bottom and the sides, then discard the excess flour.
Line the mold with the first dough disc and brush it with a drop or two of olive oil. Repeat twice, so you have three layers on the bottom of the mold, spilling on the sides.
Fill the mold with the ricotta and chard filling and distribute it evenly.
With the back of a spoon, form two cavities in the filling, each large enough to contain an egg.
Crack the eggs into the cavities and sprinkle them with a tiny pinch of salt.
Add the fourth puff pastry layer, brush it with olive oil, and add the fifth one.
Take all the flaps dropping out of the mold and roll them up to seal the borders. For a nicer finish, press all the perimeter with your fingertips. But leave an opening large enough to let you insert a straw.
Brush the surface with olive oil.
Now you have to be fast: blow air into the pie through the straw to puff the top layers into a balloon, immediately seal the opening without letting it deflate. I tried twice, maybe three times.
Bake the pie - it will flatten almost immediately - for 35 to 45 minutes, until golden.
Remove the pie from the oven and brush the surface, once more, with olive oil: you'll see waves form - the distinctive feature of this dish.
Unmold and serve the Torta Pasqualina at room temperature!
Enjoy your Torta Pasqualina recipe!