Easter Pie (Torta Pasqualina)

Easter Pie (Torta Pasqualina)
adapted from Anna Teresa Callen

serves 8

6 cups all purpose flour
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1-1/2 cups (about) cold water

1 pound fresh spinach or swiss chard (or a combination), washed but not dried

1 10-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and quartered

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced or grated
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes and drained
pinch of dried marjoram
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 pounds ricotta cheese, drained
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 eggs, beaten to blend
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1/2 cup olive oil

6 small eggs
1 tablespoon chilled butter, but into 6 slivers

Combine flour, oil and salt in large bowl.  Gradually add water and mix until a fairly stiff dough forms.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes (you can also do this in a stand mixer with the dough hook).  Cover with inverted bowl and let stand 30 minutes.

Cook spinach and/or chard in heavy large saucepan over high heat 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Drain; squeeze dry.

Cook thawed artichokes by sauteing for 5 minutes in the 2 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic. Stir in parsely. Transfer vegetables to a bowl.

Heat 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil in same skillet over medium-high heat.  Add drained porcini and saute 1 minute. Mix with artichokes.  Add spinach and/or chard to skillet and saute 1 minute.  Blend into artichoke mixture. Season with marjoram and salt and pepper to taste. Chop mixture finely using sharp knife or in a food processor, pulsing.   Blend in ricotta, all but 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, eggs, cream and flour.

Brush a 10-inch springform pan with oil.  Cut dough into 10 pieces. Shape each piece into ball. Flatten one ball into disc, keeping remaining dough covered with cloth to prevent drying. Roll disc out on lightly floured surface into 15-inch round large enough to cover bottom and sides of pan. Fold in half. Fit into prepared pan and unfold. Brush lightly with oil. Repeat with 5 more pieces of dough, brushing lightly with oil between each layer; do not brush top layer. Pour in filling and smooth top with narrow spatula.

With back of moistened spoon, make 6 indentations in filling. Break 1 egg into each well (if eggs are too large, pretend you are "separating" the egg and remove some of the white). Top each egg with butter. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

Preheat oven to 400 F. degrees. Roll remaining 4 pieces of dough out on lightly floured surface, layering in pan and brushing with olive oil as above. Trim and flute edges. Brush top and rim with oil. Piece top of pie with toothpick, being careful not to break eggs. Roll out any scraps into a round. Cut out decorations. Affix to top of pie. Bake pie 1 hour (if top begins browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil).  Cool slightly before serving. (Can be prepared 3-4 days ahead, wrapped and chilled. Bring to room temperature or warm gently in oven before serving).

The Italian Dish