Neapolitan Casatiello – Stuffed Easter Bread
3h 50 min
1h 10 min
Savory Easter Tart of Cilento
THE TRUE NEAPOLITAN CASATIELLO
The Neapolitan Casatiello is a circular-shaped bread, stuffed with cold cuts, cheeses, pork cicoli, pepper, suet and eggs, this is how the famous and tasty savory pie typical of Easter in Italy looks like. The baked Neapolitan stuffed bread par excellence, much appreciated throughout Campania. It is always present on all tables during the Easter period, not only for its gustatory and olfactory graces, which cannot be described in words, nor can one imagine, especially the heady scent that spreads throughout the house but also for its symbolic value, in fact, for Campania Christians, the casatiello symbolizes the death and resurrection of Christ: The casatiello has a circular shape with four eggs set and covered by two strips of cross-shaped dough, it represents the crown of thorns and the death of Jesus on the cross, while the eggs depict life after death.
The casatiello takes its name from the Latin “Caseus”, which means cheese, where throughout the Neapolitan area and also in the Cilento it is still called “Caso”. It has its roots in Magna Graecia and then in Ancient Rome, where it was offered to the goddess Demeter and the goddess Ceres, a bread with cheese and suet, which are the main bases of our casatiello. Even if the casatiello is written with the suffix “Neapolitan“, I think it is more Cilento, given that we are rich in an archaeological site like Paestum, where it has three almost intact temples, one of which is dedicated to Ceres.
- 500g/18oz flour 00
- 80g/3oz suet or lard
- 200ml water
- 12g/0,4oz active dry yeast
- 10g/0,35oz sugar
- 10g/0,35oz salt
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch of pepper
- 150g/5oz grated mixed cheese (pecorino and parmesan)
- 150g/5oz sliced pecorino cheese
- 150g/5oz gruyere or emmental cheese
- 150g/5oz rolled bacon
- 150g/5oz salami
- 150g/5oz cicoli
- 4 eggs
- 100g/3,5oz suet or lard
- J.e. Pepper
First we make the pastry dough, which must rise for at least 1 hour or until it has doubled. Let’s start by putting 200 ml of warm water (15°C/60°F) in the mixer. By hand, put the flour in a large bowl or on a pastry board and let’s make the classic fountain*
Put the yeast and sugar in the water and turn on the mixer with the hook and let the yeast dissolve well, or, by hand, in a bowl, dissolve the yeast with the sugar with 200 ml of warm water at 15°C/60°F15°C/60°F
Now with the planetary mixer off, insert the flour and begin to knead by turning on the planetary mixer at a moderate speed, incorporating the water, or by hand, put the lard and the egg in the fountain, while we sprinkle the salt all over the flour
We proceed by inserting the suet at room temperature, the egg and finally the salt. Let’s make the dough compact By hand, we begin to knead always starting from inside the fountain and gradually add the water with the yeast
Let’s a sprinkling of flour on the work surface and put the dough on it, now let’s knead vigorously for 10 minutes or until we have obtained a nice smooth and compact dough.
We roll up the dough and wrap it in a cloth, let it rise in the turned off oven or under a blanket, the important thing is that it stays warm and without drafts of wind or sources of heat
While the dough is rising, cut the gruyere cheese, pecorino, bacon and Napoli salami into small pieces
When the dough is nice swollen, we remove a little, about 50g, which we set aside to make the crosses, now we put the dough on the lightly floured surface and we begin to roll it out with a rolling pin until we have reached a maximum thickness of ½ cm
Now, evenly distribute a handful of pepper, the grated cheese, the cicoli, all the cured meats and cheese into small pieces over the whole sheet. Now lightly press the ingredients with your hands, so that they compact a little with the dough
We roll up the dough on itself, from the longer side and gradually squeeze, in this way, the ingredients and the dough become a single body
Grease a 28cm/11in cake pan with the lard, sprinkle with the flour and then remove the excess
We take the roll of dough, put it in the pan and close the two ends well, in this way when it rises it becomes one and does not split
We wash the eggs well, dry them and place them on the dough with the tip down, in this way they do not break when we press on the dough, they must enter almost half, we position them as if they were 4 cardinal points
We take the ball of dough that we had set aside, cut it into 8 pieces, stretch them and put two for each egg, as if it were a cross
Brush or put the lard all over the casatiello with your hands and let it rise for 1 hour, always in a warm place away from drafts of wind and heat sources
After the leavening time, turn on the oven at 180°C/360°F, when it’s hot, put it in the oven and cook for 40 minutes or until it’s golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes without removing it from the pan, then turn it upside down on a tray and let it cool for another 10 minutes. After 10 minutes we turn it over
We cover with a tablecloth and always keep it covered until it’s time to serve
- Cut the peel with a potato peeler, so you don’t remove the white part of the lemon which is bitter.
- To cook the custard, do not use the same pan in which you boiled the milk, otherwise the cream will stick to the bottom.
- The custards for the filling must be strictly cold.
The lemon must be organic, washed and dried before using it.
- The lard is added lukewarm to the other ingredients.
- When you fry the cannoli, always place them with the attachment underneath, in this way they do not open.
- It is advisable to fill the cannoli an hour before consumption otherwise the wafer will soften.
- The castiello can be kept like bread, for three to four days at room temperature, always covered with a cloth or in a bread bag.
- If you like it hot, you can heat it for 1 minute in the microwave.
- * The steel skimmer* is a perforated slotted spoon.
The creams must be cold.
- The molds are called cànnoli, because they were once made with reeds. Today they are made of tin and are easily found in all household goods stores.
- The fountain is the hole made in the flour so as not to let the liquid ingredients come out.
- Carving type knife
- Chopping board
- 3 medium bowls for salami
- Small bowl for melted juice
- pastry board
- Donut pan 28cm
- Kitchen brush
- Rolling pin
- tea towel
- Pizza tray or plate