Cristiana's Kitchen

An Easter Feast!

Ciao from Umbria!

Easter is a very important holiday to us Italians – it’s like our Thanksgiving! It is the biggest religious holiday after Christmas, and has a rich history spanning 1500 years. It is a time when families come together from all over the country and celebrate the end of Lent with festivities of all kinds, including, of course, lots of food.

This easter will be very different from those before. Maybe you get to be with your close family, or maybe you will eat at home while you speak with your family on your phone or computer. Either way, here are some of my favorite things to make for an Easter Sunday spread that always makes my family happy!

 

Easter Bread

INGREDIENTS

• 450 gr flour

• 4 egges

• 1 glass oil (EVO or sunflower)

• 1 glass whole milk

• 200 gr Pecorino cheese

• 30 gr instant yeast

• 4 pinches salt

• Butter

INSTRUCTIONS

– Grease a rounded tray with butter and sprinkle a spoon of flour so that the mixture will not stick

– In a small bowl, add 2 spoons of warm milk and yeast

– Beat eggs with salt

– Add Pecorino Cheese and mix together

– Add milk and oil

– Add the flour and mix well

– Add the yeast

– Put mixture in the tray and cook in the oven for 30 minutes at 200 degrees

 

Spinach and Ricotta Crêpes

Crêpes

INGREDIENTS – 8/10 crepes

• 100 gr all-purpose flour

• 2 large eggs

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1 glass whole milk

• 1 tbsp. butter

INSTRUCTIONS

– In a large mixing bowl, create a well with flour then add eggs, slowly whisking them into the flour

– Add sugar and salt and stir until combined

– Gradually add in milk, whisking to combine after each addition

– Let batter stand at room temperature 15 minutes

– In a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter. About 1/4 cup at a time, drop batter evenly onto pan, swirling it to an even coat

– Cook for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for 1 more minute. Repeat with remaining batter

– Set aside

Bechamel

INGREDIENTS

• 1 glass whole milk

• 50 gr butter

• 40 gr flour

• salt

• 1 tsp nutmeg

INSTRUCTIONS

– Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming

– Add flour

– Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy

– Remove from heat and slowly add milk, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth

– Return to heat

– Cook, stirring gently, for 10 to 12 minutes or until it comes to a boil, thickens, and coats the back of a wooden spoon

– Remove from heat and add salt and nutmeg

Ricotta Filling

INGREDIENTS

• 250 gr Ricotta Cheese

• 200 gr Boiled spinach

• 100 gr Parmesan

• 1/2 tbsp EVO

• 1 garlic clove

• salt + pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

– Oil the spinach, squeeze out the excess water very well

– Roughly chop the spinach

– In a large bowl, add Parmesan and ricotta, then add the spinach

– Season well with salt and pepper

Grab your crêpes!

– Spread filling on one half of each crepe and fold over twice

– Place on the baking sheet or singular plate

– Add béchamel and asparagus (or tomato or whatever you like) and Parmesan on it

– Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted

 

Pastiera

Crust

INGREDIENTS

• 350 gr “OO” all purpose flour or pastry flour

• 140 gr sugar

• 175 gr butter

• 2 large eggs

• orange zest

INSTRUCTIONS

– Mix the butter and sugar together

– Add the eggs and mix again until the dough forms a ball

– Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes or until needed

Ricotta Filling

• 350 gr ricotta cheese

• 250 gr sugar

• 2 eggs + 1 yolk

• 1 milk glass

• A few drops of vanilla extract

• A few drops of orange blossom water, to taste

• 75-100g candied orange and/or citron peel (if you like)

• orange zest

• lemon zest

• 300 gr Grano precotto (pre-boiled wheat berries or barley)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

You can prepare the filling even a day before or even 2 hours before and keep it in the refrigerator

 

COOK THE GRANO COTTO

Put the grano cotto in a saucepan with milk , stirring until the mixture becomes creamy (similar to porridge) (about 15-20 minutes) and let it cool completely before adding to the ricotta

– Pour the ricotta into a large mixing bowl

– Add the sugar and whisk until the sugar is well incorporated and the mixture is rather fluffy

– Add the eggs, one by one

– Add orange and lemon zest

– At this point, pour grano cotto into the ricotta cream and orange blossom water

– Taste and adjust the seasoning

Fill the crust

– After 30 minutes, take the dough out of the fridge. Take about 2/3 of the dough and roll it out into a round and fit into your pie plate

– Pour the filling into the pie plate, making sure not to fill the pastry shell to the very top, since the filling will swell during baking

– Cut off any excess dough that is hanging over the sides

– Create stripes and lay on top

– Using your fingers, make sure that the crust sticks to the sides

– Place the pastiera in the oven at 190 degrees for about an hour, or until the filling is cooked through and the top has browned nicely

– Lastly, add confectioner’s sugar

– Enjoy!

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