The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Italian Easter Pie

linder's picture

Italian Easter Pie

Every Easter my mom, grandma and aunts would make two easter pies, one a meat and ricotta filled pie and a second one, sweet ricotta and rice pie.  In the book, In Nonna's Kitchen by Carol Field there is a recipe for Pizza Rustica Neopolitan.  It is very much like the meat filled Easter pie of my childhood.  I tried the recipe today for the first time.  The pastry crust was a bit strange for me as it was made with olive oil, flour, salt and water, I'd never made a crust from those ingredients before.  For the filling, I first made some whole milk ricotta and then added eggs, mortadella, salami, homemade romano cheese and parmesan along with fresh ground nutmeg and black pepper.  Baked in a spring form pan, this Easter pie came out well.  I can't wait to taste it tomorrow as part of our lunch. 

Windischgirl's picture

Linder, that is one tasty looking meat pie!  I'll be right over...

I've wanted to make a savory Italian Easter Pie for some years now, but with one kid at college, one a vegetarian, and the other cheese-phobic (he must have gotten that from his dad's side :-) and hubby on the road for his job, I'd have to eat the whole thing myself...

Oh, maybe one of these years!  I know my mom and dad would love it, but we are spending Easter at home this year.  My Easter baking will be limited to a loaf of semolina bread and the clementine-almond cake from Ottolenghi's Jerusalem cookbook.

Have a wonderful holiday!

scotty71's picture

My grandmother made one that was sweet with ricotta and grain-- i think it was wheat- PIZZA U GRANN or something like that. Then there was the  one bread that had 3 or 4 colored easter eggsin but on top of it. Thanks for the memorys:) 

linder's picture

Here is a link to a great wheat or rice and ricotta Easter pie too. 


d_a_kelly's picture

My wife is from a small village near Naples and I first had pastiera while I was there. I think it's most associated with Campania, but you find variations on it all over the centre and south. Nearly everybody's nonna has their own recipe, some bland, some sickly-sweet, and some delicious. I've never had one made with rice because everyone in Italy makes it with something called "grano cotto", which you can find easily in the supermarkets there. It's made from wheat berries slow cooked for several days. "Pizza u grann" is definitely dialect rather than Italian but I don't know from what part of the country!

Here's how I make it (all measurements in grams)

for the shortcrust pastry:

unsalted butter 80

icing sugar 80

ground almond 40

egg 50

salt 1

vanilla quarter of a pod

zest of half an unwaxed lemon

plain flour 200

baking powder 2

It's traditional to make the pastry with lard in the South, but I don't really like the flavour, so I use an almond pastry instead which has a similar crumbly texture. If you use only sweet almonds there's really very little flavour. 

Roll this out to 2mm thick and line a 20cm tart tin. Let it rest and then fill with this:

fresh cow's milk ricotta 250

icing sugar 150

grano cotto 125

whole milk 18

vanilla half a pod

orange blossom water to taste (I use about 2ml)

dash of ground cinnamon

candied orange peel cut into little pieces 50

egg 50


That should make just enough filling for a tin 20cm wide by 2.5cm high. With such a simple cake the quality of the ingredients is everything. Then decorate the top with a lattice of strips of pastry and bake for 45 minutes at 180 centrigrade. 



linder's picture

David, that's very interesting re: wife from a small town in Campania - my paternal grandmother and grandfather were from Pontelandolfo in Campania.  My maternal grandmother was from Campobasso in Molise.   The recipe is very much like theirs except they used what they easily find in the US so rice was used in place of the grano cotto.

Thanks for posting the recipe.


dabrownman's picture

No pasty here!  We love pie - any kind really but yours is exceptional.  Happy Easter Linda.