Today I’d like to share with you a traditional Easter recipe from the Italian region of Umbria. Umbria is famous around the world for its hilly landscapes and old towns, such as Assisi and Orvieto to name just two. It is a wonderful area of Italy and besides being beautiful, it also boasts delicious hearty food, like this Torta Pasqualina (also known as Pizza di Pasqua Umbra). It’s a savoury cake, more similar to brioche than bread in consistency. It is traditionally made for Easter Monday, when people usually eat outdoors, in the countryside, to celebrate spring and the rebirth. It is a very hearty brioche as it is made with lots of cheese (that’s my kind of bread!) and it is usually served with mixed cheeses, salumi and hard boiled eggs during picnics. It is an absolute must try for any occasion and it also freezes beautifully. If you have leftovers you can either freeze them or cut them into smaller pieces and let them dry out… they make delicious crostini for your salads and soups! Enjoy and Happy Easter to all who celebrate!
Torta Pasqualina Umbra
Torta Pasqualina Umbra - a traditional Easter recipe from the Italian region of Umbria.
- 100 ml – ½ cup water lukewarm
- 7 gms – 2 ½ tsp dry active yeast
- 500 gms – 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 50 gms – ¼ cup lard or butter softened
- 1 tsp sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 125 gms – 1 cup + 1 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano finely grated
- 125 gms – 1 cup + 1 tbsp Pecorino Romano finely grated
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water and keep it aside to activate until frothy.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, pepper, salt, extra virgin olive oil and grated cheeses.
Put this egg mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the flour and the water and yeast and mix well. When all the liquid has been absorbed, add the butter a little bit at a time. Keep kneading until you obtain a smooth and pliable dough. Make it into a ball and keep it aside to proof for 1 hour.
Put the ball in a greased tall 20 cm – 8 inch round pan (or a panettone mould) and let it rise until it reaches the top edge.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C – 350°F for 45 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Put a bowl of water in the oven while baking this Torta, so it remains moist on the inside.
Serve at room temperature with mixed cheeses and salumi.