My father in-law recently gave my husband Jack a priceless treasure – an envelope full of hand-written recipes from his grandmother that are over 100 years old! Among those recipes, was a recipe for an Italian Easter Pie.
As a child, Jack has distinct memories being served Easter pie at his Nanna and Grampa’s house. It’s full of eggs, cheeses, and Italian cold cuts and has a firm crust. This delicious pie is traditionally served at Easter in Italian households as a way to ‘break Lent’ – hence the name – Easter Pie!
There are actually many different variations of Easter Pie – some with 33 layers of crust (one for each year that Christ lived) called Torte Pasqualina and that is made with greens, ham, cheese and hard boiled eggs inside. Ours is a meat and cheese version called Pizza Giana (Giana means “God is gracious” in Italian) – and in fact, there are actually a number of names and variations for this type of meat and cheese Easter pie – all depending on what region of the country your Italian family comes from.
Our Easter pie is dense, filling, savory and delicious! It’s made with Italian meats and cheeses – all of which are easily found at your local supermarket. You can make a pattern on the crust (we did a cross) for the holiday, or leave it plain – completely your choice!
Sadly, Jack’s grandmother’s old handwritten recipe was battered and yellowed to the point of not being fully-legible. So this recipe also draws inspiration from one of our favorite Italian cookbooks, The North End Italian Cookbook, as well as what Jack could read in the handwritten recipe and his memories of the dish his grandparents made for their family growing up.
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