Having been raised in Connecticut, I had many Italian friends. At Easter they all ate this glorious savoury pie, filled with spinach, swiss chard, ricotta and eggs. This recipe is my own version of this delicious cake. They say the original was made with 33 very thin layers of pastry, each representing a year of Jesus' life. I thought it would be alot easier to use ready made filo/ phyllo dough. It came out beautifully.
This cake can be made 2 days ahead and kept refrigerated. Enjoy cold or you could pop it back into a pre-heated oven before serving, the pastry will crisp back up. I get requests from family and friends for this, so I thought I would just post my recipe so they could make it themselves. It is very simple.
Wishing you all a Blessed Easter filled with peace, joy and of course food.
Torta Pasqualina Modo Mio ❦ Italian Easter Cake My Way
Makes one tall 9inch cake
You will need a 9 inch springform pan with high sides and a pastry brush
500 g. Ricotta cheese, drained in a sieve before using to remove as much liquid as possible. 30 minutes was fine for me
500 g. Spinach
200 g. Swiss chard
200 g. Ready rolled Filo pastry, approx. 12 sheets
150 g. Salted butter, melted
120 g. Parmesan cheese, grated divided
10 Free-range large eggs
1 tsp. Marjoram, dried
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
1 Onion, medium and finely chopped
1 Garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 Lemon, zest only
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pan filled with salted water to the boil.
Add greens and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain into a colander and rinse with cold water. Using your hand, push on greens in collander to remove as much water as possible.
Place on cutting board and chop finely. Set aside.
2. In a frying pan, on low heat extra virgin olive oil and sauté onions, garlic and marjoram until soft but not browned. About 8 minutes. Let cool slightly.
3. In a bowl combine cooked, chopped greens, onions, half the parmesan and 2 eggs. Stir until well combined. Set aside.
4. In another bowl mix ricotta, nutmeg and add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Add 3 eggs and stir to combine well. Set aside.
5. Assembly. Pre- heat oven to 160°c/320°f if your oven is fan assisted. If it isn't then up the temperature to180°c/350°
Brush the bottom and insides of the spring-form pan with melted butter. Line the bottom with 6 sheets of filo, letting edges overhang as in photo. Brush each sheet liberally with butter before each addition. Add 4 more sheets around the same way again.
6. Add greens mixture to pan, smooth with the back of a spoon. Next add the ricotta mixture, again smotothing the surface with the back of the spoon.
Using the back of the spoon again, make an indentation in the ricotta mixture to make a little room for the egg. Be careful not to disturb the greens layer. Repeat 4 times.
Crack the eggs into each littlr hole. Sprinkle with remaing parmesan and lemon zest.
Now take the overhanging filo and gently lift them over to cover top of cake. Brush generously with butter. Take remaing 2 filo sheets and cover top of tart, leaving the edges crushed at the edges in a rustic manner. Brush with remaing melted butter.
7. Place in centre of pre-heated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. Pastry will turn golden brown.