Monday, April 12, 2010

A Slice of the Pie

I'm a traditionalist, especially around the holidays. So this year, since we were not going back to New Jersey for Easter, there was no question that I'd make my mother's Pizza Rustica, a savory pie made with sausage, eggs, and lots of cheese.

Traditionally eaten for Easter breakfast, Pizza Rustica is packed with hearty, filling goodness which oozes out of each slice. Growing up, we used to anxiously wait for Easter morning to have a slice of the pie, and though I do love traditions, this year, we just couldn't wait.

Luckily, we were invited to a friend's house for an Easter Vigil party, so I was able to bring a small pie which we all devoured at around midnight. Well, I guess it was technically Easter morning.

Anyway, there's no need to wait until next Easter to make this delicious treat. I have a feeling I'll be making it again very soon.

Pizza Rustica
Makes two 9" pies or one 16" pie

For the crust:

1 stick of butter ( melted and cooled to room temp)
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups of flour
1/2 cup of ice water

1) In a large bowl beat together the egg, cooled butter, and salt
2) slowly add the flour and baking powder. Mix well. The dough will be very dry and crumbly.
3) slowly add 1/2 of the ice water and mix. Add the rest as needed. The dough should feel moist and slightly greasy.
4) cover in plastic wrap and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

For the filling:
4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
3 lbs of Italian sausage, crumbled and cooked through.
1 lb of farmer's cheese or mozzarella cheese ( grated)
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese ( grated)
1 egg beaten

Assembling the pie:

1) on a floured surface roll 1/4 of the dough ( if making two pies, 1/2 of the dough if making one large pie) to 1/16" thickness. Lay over a greased cake pan, making sure the edges hang over about 1/2".
2) Fill the pie crust with layers of sausage, hard boiled egg, farmer's cheese, and pecorino cheese. When the pie is full, beat one egg and pour almost all of it on top of the filling. This will bind the pie. Save just a small amount to brush over the top of the crust.
3) Roll 1/4 of the dough to 1/16" thickness and place over the pie, making sure that the edges hang over about 1/2 ".
4). Fold the sides over to create a lip and pinch the dough between your thumb and pointer finger to close the sides. ( see picture above)
5) Cut slits into the pie crust to allow air to exit during baking.
6) Brush the top with the beaten egg to give the pie a nice golden crust.
7) Place in a 375 degree oven in the center rack and bake until golden, ( about 35-50 minutes)
8) Serve hot and enjoy
-- the pizza rustica can be frozen for up to a month. Defrost it at room temp and then heat in a 375 degree oven until hot.


  1. I love everything about this traditional Easter pie! Thank you for sharing your family recipe.

  2. i saw many versions of this in blogland during the previous few weeks, but this one takes the cake--it's outstanding! now, if only i could see a batch in 3D rather than only on my computer screen... :)

  3. I love this pie - and you are right - you don't need Easter to make it. It pleases all year. Your looks scrumptious!

  4. I'd love this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It looks wonderful

  5. It is an absolutely gorgeous piece of pie. I could eat it several times a day. Your recipe is very easy to follow and will give even non-Italians the courage to try this treat at least once. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings... Mary