Pizza Rustica

The Pizza Rustica Recipe Traditionally served at an Easter brunch or dinner, this pie is also a great brunch option on any day of the year. There’s no doubt that this pie is a full-size meal, with its combination of a creamy ricotta base and all the meat your heart desires. There are as many variations of this recipe as there are Italian families; the following is my favorite combination. Feel free to mix and match meats and cheeses according to your preferences.

Makes one 10-inch deep-dish pie, serves 8 to 10 slices

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons Crisco, cold
½ cup warm water
3 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 2 large eggs (for the egg wash)

3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3½ cups ricotta
½ cup grated Parmesan
3 ounces sopressata, cut into ⅛-inch cubes
3 ounces prosciutto, cut into ⅛-inch cubes
2 ounces capicola, cut into ⅛-inch cubes
3 links sweet Italian sausage, broiled, skinned, and chopped
8 ounces mozzarella, cut into ¼-inch slices
8 ounces basket cheese, cut into ¼-inch slices
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
4 large hard-boiled eggs, cut into quarters

To prepare the dough, in a medium bowl, lightly toss together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add the Crisco, combining all the ingredients with your fingertips until the dough separates into crumbly, pea-size pieces.

Add the water and the 3 beaten eggs to the dough, again combining the ingredients with your fingertips. As you’re mixing, be aware that this dough has a different texture from most—it’s a little bit sticky and has a very elastic quality to it (if the dough is sticky enough that you can’t easily get it off your fingers, add a very light dusting of flour). When you are able to form a ball with the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

To prepare the filling, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, combine the 3 beaten eggs, pepper, ricotta, and Parmesan. Once these ingredients are fully combined, slowly add the sopressata, prosciutto, capicola, sweet sausage, mozzarella, basket cheese, and parsley. Continue to mix until the ingredients are spread evenly throughout the mixture.

To prepare the pie shell, sprinkle flour over your rolling pin and work surface, and divide the chilled ball of dough in half. Roll out two circles (using one half of the dough for each circle) that are approximately 12 inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick.

Remember, this crust has a lot of elasticity to it, so really press down on the rolling pin, applying a little extra pressure. Fold one dough circle in half, place it in a 10-inch pie plate so that the edges of the circle drop over the rim, and unfold the dough to completely cover the pie plate.

To assemble the pie, spread the filling across the pie shell, distributing it evenly. Top it with the quartered hard-boiled eggs. Take the remaining dough circle and fold in half. Place it over the filling, with the straight line of the half circle running down the middle of the pie.

Unfold the circle so that the entire pie is covered. Using your thumb and index finger, crimp the edges of the pie together to seal in the filling.

Break the 2 remaining eggs into a small bowl, and beat them to create an egg wash. Brush the top crust of the pie with the egg wash, taking care to cover it thoroughly. Use a sharp knife to cut at least five 2-inch slits in the top crust for ventilation (ventilation is essential for pizza rustica).

To bake, place the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until the crust has browned and the filling has achieved a firm consistency. Transfer the pie plate to a wire cooling rack and allow the pie to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Pizza Rustica can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Pizza Rustica Recipe
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