How to Make Pizza Rustica (Italian Easter Pie)

Every Easter, I thank god for my Italian ancestors. That's because at a young age I was introduced to my favorite Easter dish, Pizza Rustica, also known as Italian Easter pie.

Pizza Rustica is actually not a pizza at all, but rather a savory, almost quiche-like enclosed pie filled with ricotta, eggs and plenty of Italian meats and cheeses. What better way to celebrate the end of Lent than with tons of sausage, ham, and salumi?

Growing up, we ate the pastry every Easter Sunday morning (after working up a serious appetite from an intense egg hunt, of course). My aunt usually brings it straight from a Brooklyn deli, but I haven't made it back home for the holiday since moving to Houston. I truly miss the "pizza" (and I'm not the only one), so I've learned to make it myself. And it's just as good as I remember.

Italian Easter Pie recipe adapted from Carlos Bakery

Ingredients For the dough: 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed 1/4 tsp salt 1 lb chilled salted butter, cubed 5 large eggs, beaten 1¼ cups ice water, plus more as needed

For the filling: 10 large eggs, beaten 12 oz prosciutto, diced 8 oz boiled ham, diced 8 oz soppressata, diced 8 oz genoa salami, diced 8 oz mozzarella, medium-diced 8 oz provolone, medium-diced 2 lbs ricotta 4 oz grated pecorino Romano 1 tbsp flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 large egg, beaten for brushing crust Directions

For the dough: In a large bowl, combine 6 cups flour and the salt. Use a pastry cutter or large fork to cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add eggs and knead for 1 minute. Add in ice water, incorporating a little at a time, until a cohesive dough is formed. Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth, about 5 minutes. Roll into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.

For the filling: In a large bowl, beat 10 eggs until uniform. Add in the meats, cheeses, parsley, and pepper.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Divide the dough into two pieces: two-thirds for the bottom crust and one-third for the top. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger portion of the dough into a rectangle large enough to line the bottom and sides of a 10-by-15-inch glass baking dish, with some overhang. Use a rolling pin to transfer to the baking dish. Pour in the filling, using a rubber spatula to smooth the top. Moisten the edges of the dough with a little water.

Roll out the remaining dough to cover the top of the dish, with some overhang. Use a rolling pin to gently place the dough on top of the pie. Trim the excess dough from the sides and crimp the edges to seal. Use a fork to pierce the top crust several times. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove from oven and brush the top with a beaten egg. Return to the oven and bake until golden brown.

Let pie cool completely before serving and falling into a serious meat coma. Happy Easter!

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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano