Torta Pasqualina – A Pie for Easter

Swiss chard is one of the heroes of my plot, and I’ve blogged about my love of it before. Its vibrancy always makes a visit to the plot a joy, but recently its been joined by many green shoots and leaves emerging all over the plot. Spring is such a great season and the prospect of new life and a season of growing ahead is an uplifting one. Although much is growing at the allotment, there is not a vast amount able to be harvested; and with Easter coming up I was looking for a dish which could combine some allotment ingredients and celebrate Easter at the same time. Cue the arrival of the Guardian the other day and Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe for a Torta Pasqualina. It seems the Italians also have a need for an Easter dish which uses seasonal vegetables. The combination of chard and ricotta is always a good one, and having discovered Genius Gluten Free Puff Pastry recently its a dish I can make for the whole family. Here’s my recipe, loosely based on Ottolenghi’s.

Torta pasqualina

You will need (makes enough for 8)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1kg Swiss chard (we have the Rainbow variety which adds great colour to the dish), stalks stripped and finely chopped, leaves shredded
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
Handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
Small handful of new fennel tops, finely chopped
½ tsp ground mace
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
250g ricotta
50g parmesan
9 eggs
Salt and black pepper
500g Genius Gluten-free puff pastry
Gluten-free plain flour, for dusting

Start by sweating the onion for a few minutes until it is softened, then add the chopped chard stalks and celery. Continue to cook for a few minutes, before adding the leaves and allowing them to wilt. Take the pan off the heat, cool, then place the mix into a tea towel and squeeze out any liquid. The dryer the mix, the better it will hold its form later. Add the cheese, herbs, spices and 3 eggs to the chard mix and mix thoroughly (seasoning with a little salt and pepper as needed).making a torte pasqualina

Roll out the 2/3 of the pastry and use it to line a 20cm loose bottom cake tin. Place the chard mixture into the pastry case and make 5 indentations, breaking an egg into each, before rolling out the remaining pastry and making a lid for the pie. Trim the edges and then crimp them to provide a secure seal. Brush with  beaten egg and prick a few holes in the pastry, before placing in a preheated oven (180°C) for 45 minutes, until golden on top. Leave to cool and serve.

torta pasqualina