The filling, a combination of sweet and spicy Italian sausage, ham steak, cooked eggs, mozzarella cheese, and sharp provolone, is made using a recipe passed down from Tacinelli’s grandmother and includes other ingredients such as raw egg, parsley, salt, and pepper. As it bakes, the handmade dough that covers the filling gets crisp and golden brown from the oil and cooking liquid that was saved. The book states that Pizza Chiena recipes may vary from home to home (for example, by using a different mix of meats like prosciutto, salami, and sausage) and that the dish’s name might change depending on where you go. Easter Pie always has these three ingredients: eggs, pork, and cheese. This dish may be prepared over two days if desired. Prepare the filling the day before (by cooking the meat and grating the cheese), then create the dough, assemble, and bake the pie the day of.
- 11 large eggs
- 12 ounces sweet Italian sausage (about 3 sausage links)
- 12 ounces spicy Italian sausage (about 3 sausage links)
- 10 cups cold water, plus more for eggs and as needed
- 1 ½ pounds ham steak
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (preferably Hungarian)
- ½ cup vegetable shortening or lard, or as needed
- 2 cups (about 12 3/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 10 ounces low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)
- 7 ounces sharp provolone cheese, grated on large holes of box grater (about 2 cups)
- ½ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Cooking spray
Step-1: Prepare a big dish of cold water and put it aside. In a medium saucepan, cover six eggs with cold water by an inch. Coax to a boil over medium-high heat. Take off the heat immediately, cover, and let stand for 12 minutes. Put eggs in cold water; let them chill for approximately 10 minutes. Using a peeler, cut the eggs in half lengthwise and then each half into quarters. Place the cut-up eggs in a small bowl. Put in the fridge and cover until needed.
Step-2: While the eggs are cooking, use a paring knife to puncture each sausage casing to allow the fat to render while the sausages cook. Put the ham, links, and paprika into a big saucepan with 10 cups of cold water. The mixture should be brought to a boil over medium heat. Simmer, uncovered, for approximately 30 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the sausages reads 160°F (reduce heat to medium-low as needed to maintain a simmer). Take it off the heat. Using tongs, remove the ham and links from the saucepan and lay them aside to cool for approximately 10 minutes. Pour 1 cup of the cooking liquid from the saucepan (together with any fat that has risen to the top) into a medium-sized metal dish, and place in the refrigerator until cold and the fat has solidified at the top of the bowl, approximately 1 hour. (Throw away the rest of the broth in the kettle.) When the ham and sausages are cool enough to handle, remove the casings and cut out any excess fat or sinew. Cube the meat roughly to 1/4-inch sizes. (You need approximately 3 kilos of sausage and 4 cups of ham.) Put in the fridge and cover until needed.
Step-3: When the fat has separated from the cooking liquid in the refrigerator, it is ready to be used. Collect as much of the fat that rises to the top with a big spoon and put it in a measuring cup. Add as much vegetable shortening to the skimmed fat to make up half a cup as necessary. I am setting aside. The leftover ice water should be put away.
Step-4: For approximately 20 seconds at medium speed in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, baking powder, and one teaspoon of salt until just incorporated. Add the fat mixture set aside (approximately 1/2 cup) gradually while beating (about one tablespoon at a time). In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 cup of the leftover cooled cooking liquid; beat on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until the dough is thoroughly combined and appears somewhat shaggy but is not sticky. Toss out any leftover cold cooking liquid.
Step-5: Put the dough on a dry, clean surface to work with. Knead with the palms of your hands for a minute or until everything is combined. The dough should be pliable without being sticky and should quickly form a single ball. Protect the dough ball with plastic wrap and rest it for an hour at room temperature. (The dough may be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days if it is securely wrapped in plastic. Warm to room temperature before using.
Step-6: In a large dish, beat together four of the eggs. Combine the eggs with the ham, sausage, mozzarella, provolone, parsley, pepper, and the remaining one teaspoon of salt. I was putting aside.
Step-7: Prepare an oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit with the rack in the lowest position. Apply cooking spray to a 10-inch springform pan. Unwrap the dough and place it on a floured, clean surface. Cut the dough in half and then in half, so you have three pieces. Combine two dough discs into one large disc (approximately 13 ounces) and roll it out to a diameter of 16 inches. Gently push the dough into the pan’s corners and carefully lower the dough round into the prepared springform pan. There should be a 1/2- to the 1-inch overhang of dough on the edges of the pan. Evenly distribute the meat and egg mixture over the dough in the pan, pressing down softly but firmly. In a separate dish, beat the remaining egg. Brush the egg wash around the overhanging edges of the bottom dough piece with a pastry brush. You should save the leftover egg wash.
Step-8: To make a 12-inch circular:
- Roll out the remaining dough piece (approximately 6 1/2 ounces).
- Cover the meat and egg mixture in the pan with the dough circle.
- Use scissors or a sharp paring knife to trim the dough so that there is a 1/2-inch overhang on both sides.
Using gentle rolling motions, fold the bottom dough over the top, and rolling it toward the center of the pan will create a seal. It should fit snugly within the pan’s rim and resemble a rope (not on top of the edge).
Step-9: They use a pastry brush to coat the pie crust with the remaining egg wash. Cut four 1-inch vents into the pie top. Bake the pie for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until a thermometer in the middle reads 150 degrees Fahrenheit, on the bottom rack of a preheated oven. Put the pie on a cooling rack and let it 15 minutes to cool. Take the pie out of the range. Set the wire rack in the fridge for 2 hours to speed up the cooling process. Prepare by slicing into wedges. Cut into wedges and serve the pie hot, at room temperature, or cold. Extra slices of pie, well-wrapped in plastic, can be kept in the fridge for up to five days. A pie may be frozen for up to three months if it is first wrapped in plastic wrap, then put in a zip lock plastic freezer bag, and then reheated in a preheated oven set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit until hot and crispy.