TRACY SCHECKEL PHOTO

One for the Easter table



 Editor’s note:

Tracy Scheckel hails from Lindenhurst, N.J. — her Nana us from Naples and Papa from Sicily — and she learned a thing or two in the kitchen. Among them was Italian Easter Pie. After innocently divulging the recipe, Tracy was nearly shunned for life, but she moved to Ellsworth and now can share it with The American’s readers. Tracy is the newspaper’s new advertising sales and marketing manager.

 

Italian Easter Pie, which can be baked like muffins, makes a great Easter Sunday brunch or lunch savory.

By Tracy Scheckel

This has been an Easter standard in the family forever. Full disclosure, I’m not a huge ricotta cheese fan, so this isn’t my favorite, but everyone else LOVES it!

One year, when planning the Thanksgiving food fest with Nana (my mom), I asked why we didn’t make Pizza Chienne (we pronounce it “pizza gain”) for Thanksgiving. Since there was no good reason to limit it to Easter, it became part of the turkey day food fest too.

Nana would buy cold-cut ends to dice up for the filling. Cutting all that meat can be a real pain. One year, we discovered that buying the meat sliced and then cutting it into strips worked fine. But the pie wasn’t as tall. I have taken the pepperoni and food-processed it until almost ground. That works well to spread it throughout the filling.

Uncle Jay (my brother) had a deli for a while and was making it to sell. He did it in oblong baking pans which made it easy to sell in squares. He charged by weight. That’s actually how they sell pizza in Italy. I’ve experimented making muffins, which are really mini pies. They’re a bit more work because you divide up the dough to make top and bottom crusts in large muffin pans, but they do look really nice and professional if giving as gifts. It’s the muffin-pan version that’s pictured here.

Funny story: When PJ (my oldest son) was little I was asked to contribute to a cookbook fundraiser for his school. By then, all of my friends had fallen in love with Pizza Chienne, so I decided to share the recipe. At Christmas, I gave everyone in the family a copy of the cookbook. Nana chastised me for giving away the ‘secret’ family recipe. THEN, years later, in a casual conversation (long after the charity cookbook reprimand) she mentioned that she found the recipe in “Better Homes and Gardens.” SERIOUSLY!!!!

 

Tracy Scheckel can be reached at [email protected].

 

Italian Easter Pie or Pizza Chienne

 Makes 2 9- or 10-inch pies

 

Crust:

2½ cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 egg

½ cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. salt

½ cup milk

1 egg yolk for brushing the crust

 

Filling:

1 lb. Genoa salami

1 lb. ham

1 stick pepperoni

1 lb. mozzarella

1½ lbs. ricotta

5 eggs

 

Combine and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and completely mixed. Place in covered bowl and let rest for 10-15 minutes.

 

For the filling:

Cut all meat and mozzarella into ¼-inch chunks. In a large bowl combine all the filling ingredients.

 

Rolling the crust:

Divide dough into quarters. Roll out two to make bottom crust and put the dough into deep pie pans. Divide the filling into the two crusts and roll out the other two portions of dough to create the top crust. Crimp the top crust around the rim of the pie pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes, then brush tops with beaten egg yolk and bake for an additional 15 minutes until top crust is deeper brown.

 

 

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