Torta Pasqualina for Easter or Any Other Day

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Serves 6

Ingredients

For the pastry:

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

10 tbsp (140 grams) cold unsalted butter, diced

4 tbsp (60 grams) plain full-fat yogurt

2 tsp (10ml) white wine vinegar or lemon juice

3 tbsp (45 ml) very cold water

1 medium egg, beaten (for egg wash)

 

For the filling:

1 pound (450 grams) Fifth Season baby spinach

1 cup (250 grams) ricotta cheese

A scant 1/2 cup (35 grams) Pecorino cheese

A scant 1/2 cup (45 grams) Parmesan cheese

4 medium eggs

1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt

Pepper to taste

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Serves 6

Ingredients

For the pastry:

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

10 tbsp (140 grams) cold unsalted butter, diced

4 tbsp (60 grams) plain full-fat yogurt

2 tsp (10ml) white wine vinegar or lemon juice

3 tbsp (45 ml) very cold water

1 medium egg, beaten (for egg wash)

 

For the filling:

1 pound (450 grams) Fifth Season baby spinach

1 cup (250 grams) ricotta cheese

A scant 1/2 cup (35 grams) Pecorino cheese

A scant 1/2 cup (45 grams) Parmesan cheese

4 medium eggs

1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt

Pepper to taste

Ingredients

For the pastry:

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

10 tbsp (140 grams) cold unsalted butter, diced

4 tbsp (60 grams) plain full-fat yogurt

2 tsp (10ml) white wine vinegar or lemon juice

3 tbsp (45 ml) very cold water

1 medium egg, beaten (for egg wash)

 

For the filling:

1 pound (450 grams) Fifth Season baby spinach

1 cup (250 grams) ricotta cheese

A scant 1/2 cup (35 grams) Pecorino cheese

A scant 1/2 cup (45 grams) Parmesan cheese

4 medium eggs

1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt

Pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, vinegar or lemon juice, and water, and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut them up and into the flour mixture until it resembles small pebbles. Add the yogurt mixture to the butter and flour mixture, and stir everything together with a wooden spoon until a dough starts to form. (You may also choose to throw all these ingredients into a food processor and pulse for about 45 seconds, saving yourself about 5-8 minutes of cook time. No judgement whatsoever.)

3. Bring the dough together with a few kneads in the bowl, and then turn it out on to a clean, lightly floured work surface. Pat the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 48 hours. 

4. On to your filling! Heat some olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the baby spinach to the pan a little at a time (it may seem like a lot but it will cook down in no time) and continue until all of your spinach is wilted and cooked. Set the spinach aside to cool.

5. While your spinach is cooling, whisk together in a large bowl the ricotta, one egg, the Parmesan, the Pecorino, the salt, and pepper to taste.

6. Once cool enough to handle, dry your spinach very, very well – water in the spinach will lead to a watery filling, so this is an important step.  I usually use my (very clean) hands to squeeze it dry along with the aid of paper towels, but a clean tea towel will also do the trick. Once you think your spinach is completely dry, give it a few more squeezes, just in case. (If you’re nervous, mix in a tablespoon of flour to the filling for extra drying power. This is optional.) You will end up with what looks like a small portion of spinach – this is fine! Add it to the ricotta mixture and stir very well.

7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (170 degrees Celsius). Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter and set aside. Take your chilled dough out of the fridge and divide it into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other.

Note: A fancy top is entirely optional! If you’re up for it, go for it, and if not, no worries. Here’s all you actually have to do:

 8. On a clean, lightly floured work surface using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the smaller piece of dough and place your springform pan on top of it. Using a sharp knife, cut around the pan to get a piece of dough of the same size, and set aside. Next roll out the larger piece of dough into a circle large enough to fit into the bottom of your springform pan with some overhang.

 9. Transport your larger piece of dough to the springform pan, being sure that it goes all the way up and over the pan’s sides. Fill the crust with the ricotta and spinach mixture.

 10. Using a spoon, make 4 indentations in the filling. Carefully crack each of the remaining eggs into each indentation. Next, place the smaller piece of dough over the filling, being careful not to move around the eggs too much. Close the edges of the larger piece of dough over the smaller piece. Trim the extra dough off the sides.

 11. Brush the top of the pastry with a beaten egg, which will make it nice and shiny. Cut 3 or so slits in the top of the pie to let any steam escape. Bake the Torta Pasqualina in your preheated oven for 40-60 minutes, or until the crust is a light golden brown and the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 74 degrees Celcius. Let the Torta cool completely before cutting and serving.