It's almost Easter! To be honest, this is probably the year I've been the most efficient at posting Easter recipes... we live pretty far away from our extended family, so it's hardly a big occasion in my household which makes it easy to forget. Today, I am celebrating my Italian roots by sharing some Torta Pasqualina! It literally means, "Easter cake," but simply put, it's a savory pie filled with ricotta cheese, leafy greens, and eggs. It's so good, and it has a fun surprise on the inside! Wanna see?
I said it had eggs, but you probably didn't expect whole eggs, did you? This is what tradition dictates! Some people mix the spinach and ricotta together like I did, and some do a layer of spinach on the bottom and a layer of cheese on top, but the whole eggs are always a must. It's really not a difficult recipe, and there's nothing like the ~wow factor~ of cutting into the Torta Pasqualina and getting a pretty halved egg!
I decided to stray a tiny bit from the tradition, and make my filling with both spinach and baby kale, but really any combination of leafy greens will work! Swiss chard would be fabulous in here, they're just a little tricky to find in my neck of the woods. But really anything goes! As for the crust, same thing... you have lots of options! I decided to go with phyllo dough for a super light, crunchy, crispy crust and we absolutely loved it with the creamy filling. You can also go for puff pastry, or for something a little richer (and quicker) you can use pie dough... I won't judge if it's storebought 😉 There's no shame in shortcuts! Make this Torta Pasqualina this year, and it may just become a new Easter tradition for you too!
- *for the filling*
- 16 oz fresh spinach
- 5 oz baby kale
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 10 eggs (5 to mix in and 5 to top the pie)
- 3 crushed garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
- *for the crust*
- 20 sheets phyllo dough
- olive oil cooking spray
- First, prepare the filling. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, warm up the garlic and olive oil until it starts to sizzle slightly.
- Tear the spinach leaves and baby kale leaves roughly with your hands, and throw them into the pot, a bit at a time, until they are all reduced and wilted down.
- Add in the seasonings, mix well, then remove from heat. Let the vegetables cool down slightly, then pour them in a colander or sieve and press out as much of the watery liquid as possible.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and a bit more salt and pepper. Beat 5 of the eggs in a small bowl, set 1-2 tablespoon aside for the egg wash later, then add the rest into the cheese mixture. Stir in the strained spinach and kale.
- Now, preheat the oven to 340F and prepare the crust. In a 9-inch deep dish pie pan, layer 10 of the phyllo sheets, spraying every other one with olive oil.
- Pour the spinach filling into the crust, and using a spoon, make 5 deep indentation evenly around the pie. Crack an egg into each indentation and sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Top the pie with the remaining 10 sheets of phyllo, again spraying every other one with the oil.
- Go around the edges and lightly crimp the layer of phyllo closed, then brush with the egg wash you saved from earlier. Using a sharp knife, make 8 small cuts in the center to let the steam out.
- Place in the center rack of the preheated oven, and bake for 70-80 minutes, until pie is golden brown and there is no jiggle in the center.
- Let cool slightly, then slice and enjoy!