Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Oh My those Easter Pies-Part II - the "recipes"

Here they are.  Please bear in mind that these are from my head, which seems to be on straight today :).  I realize that certain ingredients might be hard to find in your neck of the woods.  If you have a Whole Foods close by, they carry the grain (or wheat berries).  Don't buy bulgar wheat, which is used to make a delicious middle eastern salad called tabbouleh.  I have also used in the past a wheat product in a can (yes, it was not too bad) from a company called Asti.  I believe they are based in Illinois.  The orange flower water might be found at either kingarthurflour or penzeys  Both have great online stores and feature products from all over the world.  King Arthur might have the wheat berries as well.

The Internet is full of recipes for these pies.  Some are almost exactly like mine, some take it over the top a little bit, and that I leave to readers' discretion.

Easter Grain Pie

3/4 cup wheat berries, soaked over night in the fridge with water to cover with large pieces of orange and lemon peel, then boiled til the kernels pop open (15 minutes or so).  Test to see if they are soft.  Set aside while making the rest of the filling.  Grease and flour a 10-or 12- inch spring form pan.  You may be able to make a smaller pie as well but we never know for sure. 

3 pounds ricotta cheese, well drained
12 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar (to start, might need more)
1 T. vanilla
pinch (it is strong) orange flower water - can use orange extract but I wouldn't *
juice and zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 jigger any cordial, I use creme de cacao but Grand Marnier is good, can be optional
pinch of salt
1 tsp. cinnamon (optional but good)
1/4 tsp. ground cloves (optional but good)
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream (no need to whip)
1/4 - 1/2 cup finely chopped citron ( can used candied orange peel if citron not available)

 (*) can also use rose water.  You can also sprinkle mini chocolate chips which have been dusted with flour on the bottom of the crust before you pour the filling

I start by beating the egg yolks with sugar til thick.  Then add ricotta, the flavorings, juice, zest, cream.  Blend til smooth and taste.  It may need more sugar, more vanilla, more zest whatever you think.  Then fold in the cooked, well drained and cooled wheat and citron or candied orange peel.  Lastly beat egg whites till stiff and fold them in.  Pour into crust and cut strips from dough to lay across, using two strips to form an X, repeat 3 or 4 times across the top.  Bake 350 for about an hour, if top browning too quickly, cover edges with aluminum foil.  The crust should be a light golden brown not too dark.  Test with a toothpick, it should not be wet.  Cool overnight, this tastes better the next day.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar when ready to serve.

For the sweet crust (pasta frolla), I use a recipe I found on the Internet that was close to my memory of it. I also make two batches of  this recipe since pie crust and I don't always see eye to eye. This dough keeps well and if you have a lot left over you won't be sorry.  Can be frozen.

Single batch of crust
1 1/3 cups a-p flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2/3 cup unsalted butter at room temp, 1 whole egg plus 1 yolk, grated zest of half a lemon

Mix flour and sugar.  Cream butter and eggs  using a pastry blender (old-fashioned ,yes, I know but recipe is older than dirt!).  Mix in zest.  Don't over work dough.  Let it rest about an hour.  Roll it out working as quickly as you can.  This dough should not be allowed to turn a dark brown or it will be too crumbly.  Watch it very carefully.

Pizza Rustica (Easter Meat Pie)

Use whatever pie crust you would use to make a double crust 9-inch savory pie.  I use frozen deep-dish pie shells.  I use about 1/4 lb diced of each of the following:  prosciutto (can use ham), Genoa salami, soppressata, pepperoni (optional), mortadella (optional),  mozzarella, mild provolone.  For the ricotta base, I use about 2 cups (guesstimate, may need more)  ricotta mixed with 4 beaten eggs, handful grated Parmesan cheese, pinch of black pepper, about 1 T. finely minced parsley, and a teeny pinch ground nutmeg (trust me, but it has to be a teeny pinch).

If it looks too meaty don't use all the meats, not creamy enough add more ricotta or an additional egg.  I never add any salt to this filling.  Fill crust and top with second crust, brush with an egg wash and make several small slits or dock with fork.  Bake til crust is golden brown, 350 oven, 50 min. or so (depends on your oven).  Test with toothpick, should not be wet.

Easter Sweet Bread (casatelli)

3 cups flour (you won't use it all), 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp. salt, 1 pkg active dry yeast, 2/3 cup milk, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup finely diced citron (or candied orange peel), 4 or 5 hard boiled eggs, (colored is nice)  sweet glaze, colored sprinkles

Start with 1 cup flour mix with sugar, salt and yeast.  Heat the milk and butter until warm but butter should not be completely melted.  Gradually add this wet mix to flour mix, stirring constantly.  Add the eggs and add about 1/2 cup flour.  Mix well.  Add remaining flour a little at a time til dough forms  You should have a nice dough without using all the flour.  Knead til smooth, then knead in citron or candied peel.    Put dough in greased bowl, cover with damp towel and let rise til doubled, about 1 hour. Cut in two, roll out into long ropes (I never really measured these but they are long!) , twist ropes together like a braid and seal ends together. You may want to break off a piece of dough to roll into smaller ropes that you would put on top of each egg like a "cross".  Totally optional.   Place eggs in between as evenly spaced as possible.  Put on greased baking sheet and let rise again for about 45 minutes.  Bake in a 350 oven 50-55 minutes, about 15 minutes before done, brush with a glaze made with an egg and 1 tsp sugar blended in a cup of water.  Top with colored candy sprinkles.  Return to oven til golden.  When cool, wrap with plastic wrap.

Click here to read previous post with photos.

Good luck and enjoy!   xo


  1. What a hard work you have to go through to make all these delicious looking pies!!!
    Thank you for sharing the recipes. And I admire you that post this without any written things.

    I wonder how the weather treating you, spring should be jut around the corner.

    Hope you'll have Happy Easter weekend♡♡♡

  2. The meat pie sounds absolutely delish!!! Ricotta cheese... prosciutto ... pepperoni.... OMG I have died and gone to heaven! LOL Thanks for sharing your recipes, Barbara. Happy Easter! ~Sue

  3. I loved reading your first post too on the pies. My mother would spend all day Saturday baking bread and pies. We eat a lot less treats now, but I guess many are richer. How fun to read this.

  4. Your recipes sound wonderful. Thanks for your visit and kind comments.

    - The Talescaper

  5. I'm so glad you shared the recipes. I thought maybe they were "secret" family ones.

  6. I bet I could do this without a crust for my low-carb self?? Looks and sounds great:-) Thanks for stopping by! Debbie is just my fav writer! Glad you like her too! Have a great Easter!

  7. Absolutely Anita! Both pies can survive on their "filling" without a crust. xo,

  8. De-lic-ous! Wish there were samples to taste!!
    Happy Easter!
    xo Cathy

  9. Barbara- I was trying to reply to your e-mail, but couldn't because you are set up as a "no reply comment blogger." Did you know this? You can change this is you go to your blogger settings and change your profile info to include an e-mail address. A lot of new bloggers are unaware that they aren't set up to receive replies in comment e-mails. What I was trying to tell you was that I start nibbling on my bunny's ear first,just as you do. With this chocolate, I savor each and every bite because it is so smooth and creamy. yum.... It takes every bit of self control not to eat Mr. Bunny in his entirety, let me tell ya! LOL
    Happy Easter! ~ Sue

  10. Thank you for those wonderful recipes! I hope to try them!


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