Torta Pasqualina is a typical recipe of the Easter holiday. Simple to prepare using a ready-made pastry, it’s a little more complicated if you want to prepare an original torta pasqualina and start from scratch. It is a Ligurian specialty but famous far beyond the borders of the region from which it originates.
Origins and History of Torta Pasqualina
In Ligurian cuisine, vegetable pies are very prevalent and are generally prepared around Easter. In fact, in Italian, the word Pasqua translates to “Easter.” The first mentions of this type of pie are found in Renaissance cookbooks.
The original torta Pasqualina includes a pastry made up of 33 very thin layers, a number chosen not by chance, but precisely to symbolize the years of Jesus Christ.
It was prepared using only strictly Ligurian water, flour, salt, and extra-virgin olive oil. Nowadays, it is limited to about 10 sheets, which are rolled very thinly and mixed without eggs but with flour, Ligurian oil, water, and salt.
The filling, on the other hand, involves the use of prescinseua, a particular soft cheese with a consistency halfway between yogurt and ricotta.
Because it is very difficult to find outside Liguria, it is often replaced by ricotta. Other ingredients include chard or artichokes, as well as marjoram and whole eggs, the last being a symbol of life and rebirth, the return of spring, and the triumph of life over death.
- Rolling pin
- Baking bowls
- 11-inch round baking pan
Ingredients for the pastry:
- 8 cups flour
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- lukewarm water
Ingredients for the filling:
- 3.3 pounds chard leaves ribs removed
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano divided
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
- 1.1 pound prescinseua use ricotta if you can’t find it
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 eggs
- 8 tablespoons butter melted
- oil to grease the pan and the sheets
- Pour the flour into a bowl and add the salt, oil, and enough water to obtain a soft and smooth dough. Divide the dough into 33 parts and let it rest covered with a cloth for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, wash the chard leaves, chop them finely, and cook them in boiling salted water. Once ready, drain and squeeze them, put them in a large bowl, and add the grated cheese and marjoram.
- Drain the whey from the prescinseua and add the flour, oil, tablespoon of grated cheese, salt, and pepper.
- Take 13 balls of dough and roll them out with a rolling pin very thinly, brush them with oil on both sides, and place them on top of each other in the pan.
- Then spread the chard over top, drizzle with oil, and cover with prescinseua.
- Use a spoon to create 12 divots, then crack an egg into each one and season with a pinch of salt and melted butter.
- Roll out the remaining 20 sheets, brush each with oil, and gently layer them on the pie. When finished, roll up the edges to form the crust edge and brush the surface with oil.
- Bake at 400 F for 50 minutes. Serve hot or cold.