A double-crusted pizza pie with a rich egg filling, Pizza Rustica is a lovely and unique homemade dish!
Every once in a while, life hands you a reminder that you’re just not all that. My reminder usually comes in the form of karmic revenge — a topic not for this post (nor this blog) — but now and then, it jumps me in the kitchen.
I have more knife scars than I can count (no doubt in payment for my knife-skills pride). And just when I become emotionally attached to a kitchen tool — usually a spatula or scraper — I manage to burn or melt the handle (totally true – I have an entire collection of ruined things).
So, when the recipe for Pizza Rustica came up in the schedule for Tuesdays with Dorie, I wasn’t worried in the least. Pie dough, simple cheesy fillings with a little prosciutto, made fluffy with eggs. Piece of cake. Er, pie. Pizza pie.
I should’ve known something was coming. The Universe loves a good blind-sided smack-down.
But first, here’s the thing that did go right — really, really right: the ricotta for the filling.
Homemade herb ricotta. Sweet holy moly, this stuff is heaven on a cracker.
If it looks good enough to eat with a spoon, that’s because it is. You know, theoretically. Not that I’ve actually tried it that way. No, sir. Not straight out of the bowl. With a spoon.
Nor did I make extra just so I could do that. Uh. Uh. No.
(Full recipe and technique in tomorrow’s post!)
Now, this Pizza Rustica thing wasn’t a full-on disaster, but the photo above does show the source of the day’s headache: the dough. OMG, the dough (back-of-hand-to-forehead, swoon).
It came together beautifully. It chilled beautifully. And then it turned on me.
Or, to be accurate about it, the weather turned on me.
You’ve heard me prattle on and on about our warm Spring. Really warm Spring. A week’s worth of days in the 80’s. Including the weekend I made this recipe.
Hot and muggy days mean air conditioning. But it’s March, people! There shouldn’t have to be air conditioning in March in Ohio. Last year at this time, there was still snow on the ground, fer pete’s sake. I was just not going to do it, even though the kitchen was edging up towards 85°F.
Fast forward to rolling out the dough. Man, disaster. The dough practically melted on the board. Actually, the word I really want to use is curdled. See how pebbly rough the dough pieces are? The lattice strips were even worse.
Dinner late, if not ruined. Sigh. The dough needed frequent rechilling in my jungle kitchen, but there just wasn’t time. I had to power on.
Shockingly, the thing actually baked up halfway decent. The pieced-together dough hunkered down and fused together in the heat of the oven, and still managed to come out light and flaky.
I’d say that’s a pretty amazing pie dough. The Pizza Rustica itself was a bit on the quichey side because of the eggs, but all around quite tasty.
Next time, when the kitchen hits the mid-80’s, I’m turning on the air conditioning, dammit. I don’t care if it’s still the middle of winter.
No sense tempting the Universe again with an obvious “duh.”
for the pie crust
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces cold unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs slightly beaten
for the filling
- 1 pound whole milk ricotta
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1/4 pound mozzarella cheese grated
- 1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto shredded
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- freshly ground black pepper
make the dough
- Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse a few times just to mix the ingredients.
- Add the butter and pulse 15 to 20 times or until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal. With the machine running, add the eggs and process until the dough forms a ball on the blade, about a minute or so.
- Remove the dough from the processor and knead it, folding it over on itself, until it is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and set aside until needed. Dough can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
make the filling
- Scoop the ricotta into a medium bowl and stir until smooth with a rubber spatula. Add the rest of the filling ingredients, one at a time, stirring until each addition is incorporated and the mixture is well blended.
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350?F. Butter a 9” glass pie plate. If using a metal pie plate, increase the oven temp to 375?F.
- Divide the dough into two pieces, one twice as large as the other. Working with the large piece, knead t into a disk and roll it out on a lightly floured work surface into a 12-inch circle.
- Transfer the dough to the pie plate and press it gently against the bottom and up the sides of the plates. Use the dull side of a knife to trim the excess dough even with the rim.
- Scrape the filling into the pie shell and smooth the top.
- Knead and shape the remaining piece of dough into a block and roll it into a 9” square. Using a pizza or pastry cutter or a thin, sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 even strips. To form the lattice top, lay 6 of the strips across the pie at 1 ¼” intervals, then crisscross the strips, placing the remaining strips diagonally across the first. Trim the ends of the strips even with the edge of the pan and pinch to seal. Brush with a beaten egg slightly thinned with water (you won't use all of the egg wash.)
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling is firm and slightly puffed. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool completely before serving.