Torta Pasqualina is a savory vegetable pie traditionally served during Easter in the Liguria region of Italy. It’s made with chard and other leafy greens that actually grow nicely in June in California. So why not celebrate Easter in June? The recipes vary, but typically the pastry is made from flour, salt, olive oil and water. The filling varies but usually has greens, onions or shallots, some kind of cheese (like ricotta, Parmesan or both) and eggs (quail or other)! Our dear friends Kaleb and Rebecca gave me a huge bag of their homegrown greens, and I thought it was the perfect excuse to make this Easter pie.
To make the crust you can simply use water, olive oil and flour. With a busy weekend, I used puff pastry—Dufour is the best. Don’t bother with any other brands in my view! Defrost it in refrigerator for two or three hours and follow directions on package. I simply put the sheet of puff pastry in a small round pan with a removable bottom, filled it and folded the edges over. You could cut the puff pastry into a circle and fold the edges over with a circle to seal it on top, but who has time for that? My filling included red Russian kale, chard, collard greens, minced onion and minced shallots, a mix of grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses, a splash of cream, salt to taste and two whole raw eggs. I chopped and cooked down the greens. Remove any liquid and then sauté in olive oil with the onions and shallots. Season and mix in cheese and the splash of cream. Put the filling into the puff pastry, dig two wholes for the eggs, crack the eggs in, and season with salt. Gently cover eggs with filling and seal the top by folding the edges over or creating a nice circle. Bake at 400-425 degrees until well browned. Half way through the cooking, I actually inverted it to get the bottom nice and crispy. I decided the flat bottom was prettier than the top and served it upside down! Those of you who are gluten free, you could also skip the crust all together and bake it in a nice dish.