Easter cake: original recipe and history

The easter cake is a savory pie that is prepared in Liguria during the Easter period. It has a spinach and ricotta filling, does not include meat and is a perfect appetizer for a special lunch. It is very simple to prepare, especially since nowadays puff pastry is available ready-made directly from the supermarket and can be customized in many ways.

How the Easter cake was born

He talks about this cake for the first time Hortensius Lando, a scholar of the sixteenth century, who mentions it in his “Catalogue of the inventors of things to eat and drink” and who liked the cake “more than the honey the bear.” The author called her “catfish“, as the cats approached the windows of the houses attracted by the scent of this dish.

It is actually said that the Genoese cooks already in the 1400s prepared the cake with ben 33 layers of puff pastry, in honor of the years of Christ. Even the whole eggs in the filling they were considered a symbol of birth. Furthermore, since at the time not everyone had an oven at home and therefore they had to be prepared by those who owned one, each family made a sign with a knife to recognize their cake.

Easter cake: original recipe

To prepare the Easter cake we start with the spinach, which are steamed and sautéed with a clove of garlic and a drizzle of oil. Once cooked, they should be placed on a cutting board and cut into small pieces.

At this point they should be poured into a large bowl in which to combine the ricotta, an egg, salt, pepper and parmesan, mixing well. It is therefore necessary to line a cake tin (preferably hinged) with handmade or ready-made puff pastry bought at the supermarket.

The bottom of the puff pastry should be pricked with a fork, then pour the spinach and ricotta mixture to level. Finally, we have to create 5 grooves with the help of a spoon, insert the 5 eggs inside these, taking care not to break the yolk.

The cake thus filled must be covered with another layer of pastry to be pricked, while the edges are sealed by joining the two sheets. The Easter cake should be baked at 200° for the first 15 minutes and then at 180° for another 20 or 25 minutes.

The secrets for an excellent Easter cake

The basic dough is prepared in a few minutes and the puff pastry they are simply rolled out with a rolling pin but, to speed up the recipe, you can also use ready-made shortcrust pastry or the classic puff pastry.

According to the original recipe the eggs must be inserted whole in the dough directly in the filling. Once cooked in the oven, they become firm and perfectly visible when cut when slicing the cake, creating a real surprise effect. The secret to obtaining the eggs visible when cut is to make small holes in the stuffing in which to lay the eggs, in this way they harden whole.

For a more particular decoration of the Easter cake, the edge of the two layers of pastry can be folded over to create a frame, making them adhere well along the edge of the pan and cutting off the excess with a knife. The remaining dough can be used to create shapes to be placed on the surface of the rustic before putting it in the oven.

The Easter cake it can be kept for two days at room temperature and then in the refrigerator for another 3 days, otherwise it can be frozen as soon as it is made.

The variations of the Easter cake

The Torta Pasqualina is in fact a savory pie and therefore there are many variations. A vegetarian pie which is the most similar to the special Ligurian Easter recipe is the ricotta and spinach savory pie, where, however, the whole hard-boiled eggs inserted in the dough are missing.

The cuisine of Liguria has many savory recipes similar to the Torta Pasqualina and one of these is the Ligurian rice and chard cake, easy to prepare, with a dough based on cooked rice and beetsan ingredient widely used in regional cuisine.

Chard and rice are also two of the main ingredients of pumpkin pie and chard another savory recipe which is in fact a rustic.

Always based on chard but with i artichokes to enrich the filling is the cake with artichokes and chard, a savory pie perfect for an appetizer.

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