Monday, April 09, 2007

Torta Pasqualina

Torta Pasqualina literally means 'Easter cake' in Italian. It's a typical Easter dish from Piemonte and Liguria. You can recognize it from the other many savory cakes that we have in Italy because it has whole eggs that are baked in it. The dough is a layered dough, a bit like 'fillo dough', but thicker. It's called 'pasta matta' (i.e. crazy dough). Here is the recipe, adapted from Gianfranco's recipe at
1 lb flour
1/2 cup water
5 tbsp oil
1 lb spinach (it should be biete, a long leaf green vegetable that I couldn't find here, and spinach is a good substitute for it).
1 lb ricotta
1 cup parmigiano, grated
5 eggs
Mix the flour with the water, the oil and a pinch of salt. Knead the dough for ~10 min, then let it rest for at least one hour (I did overnight). In the meanwhile, make the filling: boil the spinach for five minutes, then sautee them in some butter (I added a bit of garlic because I like it). Add salt, ricotta, parmigiano, a pinch of pepper and one egg, and mix well.
When you're ready, divide the dough into ten parts (the more the better, it's supposed to be 33 like the years of Christ!!! - but I opted for ten.....). Roll the dough down as thin as you can. You should obtain discs to cover your baking pan with each piece of dough. I wasn't able to roll them down so much and it was still ok, so don't worry if you can't. Put the first disc of dough in the baking pan, spread some olive oil on top, put the second disc on top, and continue for five (or half) of the discs. Now put the fillingon the dough. Make four dips in the filling, and break the four eggs in them. Sprinkle some extra salt on the eggs.
Add the rest of the discs, still putting olive oil between each of them, and add olive oil also on the last one. Fold the ecces dough on top of the cake.
Preheat the bread at 400 F and cook for ~1 hour. Cool down before serving (it can be eaten a bit warm, but not too much). It's DELICIOUS!!!!!
This is also my special entry for the 15th Weekend cookbook challenge, hosted by me for this edition with theme 'Easter and Springtime food'. The deadline is tomorrow (I'm on Pacific time so you're not late yet!!!). I'll post the summary in one week.


Marce said...

wow, I never realized pasqualina got it´s name from "pasqua", dumb me! Here in Argentina, the pasqualina has remained in the popular food selection year-round, but we normally eat it with puff pastry and the eggs are placed within the pie already cooked (no fun!). I personally make mine with a homemade pastry with lower fat content and more of a crumb and love it that way, but some day I´m gonna try it the traditional way and see how it compares, since pasqualina is one of my all-time favorite foods. My mom makes it with some mozzarela and a bit of ham as well, which gives it a nice touch.
Ok, I´ll stop talking now, but you brought this on yourself by talking about pasqualina! ;)

chemcookit said...

Thank you so much for your comment! I love talking about food :)
As for the eggs, I found a few recipes also from Italy where they add them already cooked. But supposedly this is the 'original' version. I'm sure ham and mozzarella would be great too - in the end, there is an endless number of savory cakes people make, right? :) This is Pasqualina just because of the eggs..

Ronnie Weston said...


Just came across your blog-not sure how but glad I did. Your title attracted me (my son-in-law is from Rome and is living in Boston) and your posts are lovely. My husband and I make frequent trips to Italy and our last one included the Piemonte region (after attending the Salone del Gusto in Torino). Fabulous food, wine and people. Our favorite restaurant was La Libera in Alba.

Madam Chow said...

I just discovered your blog and I love it! My father was from Argentina - my great grandmother used to make something like this with fish and spinach. I'm going to have to try this!

Evelin said...

Oh! I really would have liked making this cake at Easter. I found the recipe from last year's Spanish cooking magazine Comer Bien and fell in love with it. But. Yes, there's a but. I would've finally had to eat it all myself as my parents would've probably looked at spinach asking 'is this grass in our food?' and my grandmother...let's put it this way...she's a bit conservative about food. So fear got me. I hope it was the last time:)

Susan in Italy said...

That is so cool to have the whole eggs baked into your Torta. I'll bet it was delicious.

zinnur said...

Marta, i found your blog while looking for a recipe for ventagli. A friend of mine had this in Venice, and she really would like to make it herself. I could not see it among your dessert recipes, but i wanted to ask you just in case i missed it, or if you have something similar under another name etc. Even general directions will be most helpful.
Thank you,

chemcookit said...

Hello everyone! Sorry I couldn't answer before, it was a busy week!!

Ronnie - thank you so much! I'm glad you visited Piemonte. :) I love Torino, and it's true, the cuisine is really good. I have a whole section of Piemontese recipes, if you want to try to make some :)

Madam Chow - Thanks! Mmmmm.... spinach and fish!! Sounds delicious!

Evelin - the taste is really good, and as long as they don't hate spinach, I'm sure they would like it. And you can change the green with something else.. you can put peas, or as you saw in some of these comments, you can add meat in it. :)

Hey Susan! - yeah, this is really the characteristic of the torta pasqualina. I think it's cool too :)

Zinnur - I found a recipe online for them, which starts with a dough that you can find very easily, frozen, in Italy (it's called pasta sfoglia). It's a bit like fillo dough, but more greasy and thick. I think you would call it yeast puff dough, here, but I'm not sure about it. I think it would be ok with that, though. If you're interested, send me an email at chemcookit at gmail dot com and I'll send it to you, it's a bit long to write in a comment.

zinnur said...

Marta, i really appreciate this! Judging by your description and the pictures my friend took, it must be puff pastry. i believe my friend can find it frozen in Switzerland, too. i'll send you an email right away. Once again, thanks! Isn't blogging great!

Unknown said...

hey marta!
I can't believe you have a food blog, that's so cool:) I am a fan of food blogs! (see I am checking them out even in lab) We really should get together to cook sometime, it'll be fun. There is a lot more I shall learn from you besides surface chemistry:)

N said...

I hope you don't mind... I linked your recipe on my blog. Your pictures are great, and it looks so yummy! :-)

Anonymous said...

This is such a wonderful recipe, and the photos are great. I'd like to add a link or post them on my blog:

Please let me know if this is okay. And do check out my blog on Italian. Perhaps we could link?


Dianne Hales
author of "La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language."

chemcookit said...

Hi Noelia, and sorry for not replying for so long! Thanks for visiting, I'm glad you like my pictures and food.

Dianne -- I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe and pictures, and of course, feel free to put a link to them on your blog.