pizza chiena a easter cheese pie
2h 30 min
1h 30 min
Savory Easter Tart stuffed cheeses and eggs
Pizza chiena a easter cheese pie of Cilento
The chiena pizza is a stuffed chees pie typical of Cilento cuisine, with a soft and unleavened dough, filled with salami, eggs and local cheeses. It is mainly made during the Easter period, exactly on Good Friday but, for religious reasons, it is strictly consumed from Easter Sunday onwards, excellent for an aperitif, or on Easter Monday, for picnics outside the city.
In my country and in some areas of Cilento, especially in the seaside resorts, the pizza chiena is also called pizza “re caso e ova” (pizza stuffed with cheese and eggs), because the filling is rich only in local cheeses, eggs and salami and differs from the many pizzas chiene that they are made both inland and throughout Campania where in some variants there is the addition of pasta or rice or ham and they have a leavened pastry.
Nonnaclaudia’s chiena pizza reflects the origins of its land, the story of humble farmers with a life on the edge, where they reserved their cured meats for important occasions and, Easter was the main holiday. My grandmother used to say: “the ova ca se roppono a pasca, non se rompono inta a tutto l’anno”, (eggs that are broken at Easter do not break within a year). In fact, in addition to pizza chiena, they made neapolitan casatielli, tortani, viccio with egg, pizza aroce (cake with sponge cake and white and chocolate custard), neapolitan pastiera, rice pie, in short, the day of Easter on the Cilento tables there was every good thing, and I still carry on the tradition today.
- 400g/14oz flour 00
- 100g/3,5oz suet or lard
- 100ml water
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch of salt
- 300g/10oz Toma or Primo Sale cheese
- 100g/3,5oz semi-mature goat cheese
- 100g/3,5oz Emmental cheese
- 100g/3,5oz bacon
- 150g/5oz prosciutto parma
- 150g/5oz salami
- 10 eggs
- 1 pinch of salt
- J.e. suet or lard
- J.e. Pepper
In a saucepan, melt the lard over a moderate heat without frying it and leave it to cool
In a large bowl or on a pastry board, pour the flour, make a hole in the center and put the salt, egg, lard and water
Incorporate all the ingredients, knead vigorously on the work surface, if necessary add more water, the dough must be soft but not sticky, when you see it well assembled and elastic, roll it up and put it to rest in the fridge, covered with a cloth or film
Cut all the cured meats, the emmental into cubes and grate the cheese
In a large bowl, mash the toma or primo sale cheese with a potato masher, put the grated cheese, pepper, salami and diced Emmental cheese and eggs, mix well and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge
Grease and flour a 20cm/8in pan and turn on the oven at 180°C/360°F
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to form a thin sheet
Cover the pan with the pastry, make it adhere well to the sides and cut off the superfluous that comes out from the edges
Pour the filling into the pan and level it evenly
Knead the dough again, roll it out with a rolling pin and cut it into 2cm/1in wide strips
With the strips of the pastry, form a grid on the pan with the filling (place the strips diagonally from left to right, then, from right to left, in this way diamond shapes will form), lower the pastry that is at the edges of the pan over the ends of the grid
Generously grease the grill and the edges of the pan with the lard
Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour or until golden brown
- The filling must be soft if, after resting, it seems hard, add a few more eggs (it all depends on the cheese and the size of the eggs).
- Once cooked, remove the pie from the pan and let it cool on a rack.
- Absolutely do not replace the toma or primo sale with ricotta, because the latter weighs it down and alters its flavour.
- The Pizza Chiena or stuffed cheese pie of Cilento should regularly be made with local cured meats and the ham can be replaced with soppressata, if you have them at home use those otherwise ask your trusted butcher.
- Once cooked, this stuffed cheese pie can be kept for three to four days at room temperature, always covered with a cloth or a bell.
- Once cooked, Pizza Chiena of Cilento can be frozen and stored for up to 2 months.
- * 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 knife
- Chopping board
- Rolling pin
- Pastry board
- 20cm tray
- Kitchen brush
- Small saucepan
- Tea towel
- Tray or platter