Easter is a special time of year. Family gathers and food is prepared. Eggs are hidden, and people come together to celebrate rebirth.
For me, Easter is a very special time of year because I celebrate my wedding anniversary around this time.
I had never heard of Easter pie until I visited my future husband’s Italian family in Philadelphia. I was introduced to all kinds of food traditions like seven fishes on Christmas eve, pizzelles, pasta fagiole, and of course Easter pie. I usually make a dozen during Holy Week and give some to friends and family. It has become a challenge for our family to determine which of our friends is pie-worthy. So be nice to us in the spring!
I wasn’t sure I would ever share this recipe, but I like you and consider you family now! So let’s get to it! Gather your family or friends and enjoy making this Italian Easter Pie.
Below I’ve listed the ingredients needed to make two pies because you can’t have just one!
For the crust:
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 4 Tb sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 4 large eggs
- 6 Tb melted vegetable shortening
- Little water to make dough
- One more egg with 2 Tb water, to brush on top
For the filling:
- 1 pound sliced ham
- 12 ounces sliced salami
- 12 ounces Mexican panela cheese
- Optional – 8 ounces sliced mozzarella
- 12 large eggs
- 2 handfuls grated Parmesan
- Ground cloves, black pepper
- Optional – 1 Tb chopped rosemary
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together 4 eggs and the melted shortening.
- Add the egg/shortening mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until a dough begins to form. Then use your hands to knead until the dough is smooth. Add sprinkles of water as needed to incorporate all the flour. If you watch my YouTube video, you will see my son Nik making the dough on a floured surface instead of a bowl. He learned this from my father-in-law.
- Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for an hour or so. Since there is no yeast, it doesn’t rise, but it does relax and become softer.
- Divide the dough into 4 approximately equal-sized balls. These will be your top and bottom crusts. On a floured surface, roll out each ball of dough into a round crust. The bottom crusts should be an inch or two larger than the diameter of your pans. I use 9-inch cake pans, since they have straight sides and are a little deeper than pie pans. The top crusts can be a little smaller; they just need to cover the surface of the pie.
- Now layer your fillings. Start with sliced ham; fold it up a little so that it doesn’t lie flat. You want to create spaces for the egg mixture to fill in. next, a layer of salami. Then add some crumbled panela (and mozzarella if you are using this). Now repeat the ham, salami, and cheeses. Sprinkle in some ground cloves and some chopped rosemary if you like.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the 12 eggs and grated Parmesan. Pour this over the two pies. The eggs should settle into the spaces between the meat and cheeses.
- Place the top crusts over the pies and crimp edges to seal. Poke holes in the surface to vent.
- Make your egg wash – 1 egg whisked with 2 Tb water. Brush this over the surfaces of the pies, including the edges.
- Bake the pies on top of a large baking sheet, at 375 degrees, for about 45 minutes. They are done when the top is golden brown and the sides of the pies pull away from the pans.
- Cool until you can handle them, about 20-30 minutes, then remove from pans. You can eat these right away (at least one pie is consumed immediately at our house), or cool completely and freeze or refrigerate. Pies will last a couple of weeks in the fridge, or 6 months in the freezer. From the freezer, just set them out and let them thaw to room temperature, then heat a slice at a time in the microwave.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. Please let me know if you have any questions about making it or if you do end up making it, let me know how you liked it!