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Torta Pasqualina: Chard and Spinach Pie

Torta Pasqualina is a traditional Ligurian Easter pie, often eaten for picnics on Easter Monday. It's typically made with Swiss chard and spinach, but it's also delicious with foraged leaves added such wild spinach or wild garlic. The pie includes eggs baked whole within the filling creating a beautiful effect when you slice into the pie.

The pastry for this pie is filo, which we've scored to create this beautiful pattern (directions below). While this certainly has the wow factor, it can be quite fiddly! So you can always leave the layers plain and just cut a cross in the middle of the pie through the pastry to release the steam, or loosely scrunch up the oiled sheets of lo for an attractive rough pie topping. 

Chard and Spinach Pie

Torta Pasqualina

Serves: 4 to 6

Prep Time:1 hour | Cooking time; 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 350g chard, washed
  • 400g spinach, washed
  • 4 banana shallots
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tin artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
  • ½ lemon, juice and zest
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • nutmeg to taste
  • 500g ricotta
  • 75g vegetarian hard cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 pack filo 480mm x 255mm with 7 sheets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil for brushing

Method

  1. Line a 22cm spring bottomed cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Roughly chop the chard and spinach. Wilt down the greens together, then refresh them under cold water, drain and squeeze out the excess water.
  3. Peel and slice the shallots into half-moon slices. Fry in the butter with a pinch of salt until soft. Add sliced artichokes, lemon zest and juice, nutmeg and season to taste. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and mix with the wilted greens. Stir in the ricotta, vegetarian hard cheese and add check the seasoning.
  5. Using 6 sheets of filo cut 12 discs out of filo the same size as the cake tin. Cut the remaining sheet of filo into 4 long strips to use for the edges of the pie.
  6. Layer up 6 round sheets with olive oil brushed lightly between each sheet. Place them in the bottom of the lined tin.
  7. Oil the 4 long strips of filo and line the sides of the tin with them, making sure they are overlapping all around, to create the sides of the pie.
  8. Put 2/3 of the chard mixture into the tin, make 5 evenly spaced egg sized wells in the mix and crack an egg into each well. Layer the remaining mixture gently so you don’t break the egg yolks and evenly over the top of the eggs. Tuck the top edge of the filo sides in over the edge of the pie filling.
  9. On a board layer up the remaining 6 round sheets of filo with olive oil brushed lightly between each sheet and score through (not all the way through) in a diamond baklava style pattern. Place this filo layer on top of the pie and tuck in the edges. This cutting pattern can be quite fiddly to do, so you can leave the layers plain without a cut design, just cut a cross in the middle of the pie through the pastry once it’s in place to release the steam. Or you can just loosely scrunch up the oiled sheets of filo for an attractive rough pie topping.
  10. Bake at 200C/180C Fan for 1 hour (protect the top with foil if needed during the last 20 minutes.)


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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