Post2_S&B_BakersDelight_Sourdough 2

The Italians are big on food and big on Easter! One of their most traditional Easter dishes is a torta pasqualina, literally translating to Easter Pie. It’s a spinach pie with a secret surprise -whole eggs baked into it. Eggs are an important symbol of Easter and new life in spring.

The traditional version, from Liguria in the country’s north west, is very tricky to make – the phyllo-like pastry is extremely thin, and should have 33 layers to represent 33 years of Jesus’s life. But in this busy day and age, we absolutely need a cheats version!

Instead of messing around with pastry, we are using a hollowed out Authentic Sourdough Vienna loaf from Bakers Delight.  It holds onto the filling brilliantly, because it’s a dense bread with a thick and crunchy crust. It is easily hollowed out by cutting off the top, then scooping out the soft bread from the inside.

In Italy, as in many catholic countries, bread is considered to be the body of Christ – so it’s an important part of religious holidays. It’s also very important that you don’t throw out leftover bread or your scooped out bits, so make sure you re-use the inside of the loaf. You can toss small chunks in olive oil and roast – use as croutons in soup or in a panzanella salad. Or blend it with deliciously ripe, late season tomatoes for a Spanish salmorejo chilled soup.

You can serve it hot, fresh from the oven, or let it cool and eat it chilled – it’s perfect for a picnic.  Either way, your guests will only see the secret eggs baked inside when they slice it open!

 

Cheat’s Torta Pasqualina, Italian Easter spinach pie

Serves 8

  • 1 loaf Bakers Delight Authentic Sourdough Vienna
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 350g spinach (about 1 bunch, stems removed and green finely chopped)
  • ½ nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup (170g) full fat ricotta
  • 2 heaped Tbsp (50g) grated parmesan
  • 3 eggs, extra
  1. preheat oven to 180C
  2. Carefully slice the top off the Authentic Sourdough Vienna. It should be about 1.5cm thick at the thickest part, and start and finish about an inch from either end of the bread. Set lid aside, then using a small serrated knife and a spoon, cut out the soft bread from the centre, leaving the crust in tact 1 to 1.5 thick. Use bread from centre for another recipe.
  3. Heat a large fry pan to medium and add olive oil and chopped onion. Cook for about 4 minutes, until the onion is translucent, then add finely chopped spinach and nutmeg. Continue to cook, stirring, until the spinach has wilted and all liquid has evaporated.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk 1 egg, ricotta and grated parmesan until smooth. Add cooked spinach mix and stir until combined.
  5. Place 75% of the filling inside the hollowed out loaf, and push the filling up the sides so there is a trench along the middle. Crack the 3 extra eggs into the trench, then very gently spoon the remaining filling over the top of the eggs.
  6. Place the lid back on top, and wrap the whole loaf in aluminium foil. Place on a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes, then remove foil and make for a further 15 minutes.
  7. To serve, let cool slightly then slice into inch wide pieces.