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Pizza Rustica (Italian Easter Pie Recipe)

Pizza Rustica, also known as Italian Easter Pie, is truly a culinary masterpiece! A decadent filling of Italian cured meats, cheeses and eggs is encased in a buttery flaky deep-dish crust and baked to golden brown perfection. 

At one time you could only find Pizza Rustica in Italy, but just like Arancini, another Italian specialty that has grown in popularity, you can now find it in Italian restaurants and bakeries in the US as well.

A slice of Italian meat and cheese pie in front of the whole pie.

On Easter Sunday, it is a tradition in many southern Italian homes to break the Lenten fast by enjoying sweet Italian Easter Bread, Sicilian Anise Cookies (Pani di Cena Biscotti) and digging into a delicious Pizza Rustica.

The pizza rustica is loaded with everyone’s favorite salumi and cheeses and is typically served cold or at room temperature. It may be enjoyed as an appetizer, snack or even part of the main course. 

Pizza Rustica (AKA pizza ripiena or pizza gaina) may include any combination of Italian meats such as salami, mortadella, prosciutto or Soppressata, which are mixed with ricotta, provolone, mozzarella, and eggs to make up the filling. 

The crust that encases this dense filling, also varies.  In some areas of Italy, a pizza crust is used and in others a pastry crust is more typical. I prefer the pastry crust but, either way, there’s nothing quite like the aroma of freshly baked Pizza Rustica wafting through the kitchen.

Although it may look intimidating this Italian Easter Pie recipe is really quite easy and allows you leeway to use your own favorite ingredients.  Below, I’ve included step by step instructions with cooking tips to help you out!

Ingredients You Need to Make Italian Easter Pie with Notes

Crust Ingredients

  • Butter: The butter should be cold and cut into cubes. The colder the butter the flakier the crust.
  • Flour: I like to keep things simple and use all purpose flour. 
  • Kosher salt and Baking Powder
  • Eggs: Use large eggs that have come to room temperature. The size of the eggs will dictate the amount of water that you will need to moisten the dough.
  • Water: The water should be ice cold.

Filling Ingredients

  • Italian Deli meats: Mortadella, Soppressata, and Capicola all cut into ½” cubes.
  • Cheeses: Provolone Cheese and fresh Mozzarella cut into cubes
    • Pecorino Romano, grated.
    • Ricotta, whole milk, drained of water. You can also use basket cheese, which is common in Italy but may be harder to find in other parts of the world.
  • Eggs: I use large beaten eggs. 
  • Ground Black Pepper

Step By Step Instructions

To Make the Crust

  1. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the flour mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Add the eggs and
  4. Pulse until mixed well.
  5. Continue to pulse the food processor as you add the cold water one tablespoon at a time just until a dough ball forms.
  6. Remove the dough from the food processor, place it on a lightly floured surface, form it into a ball and knead it a few times. 
  7. Cover it with plastic wrap. Set it aside to rest while you prepare the filling.
  8. Divide the dough into two pieces. One piece should be about 1/3 of the ball and will be used for the top and the other should be about 2/3 of the ball, for the bottom crust. Lightly flour your work surface and roll the larger piece of dough into a circle about 4 inches wider than the spring form pan you are using. The dough needs to cover the bottom and come up the sides of the pan. Roll the smaller piece of dough into a circle slightly large then your springform pan. If you want to make a lattice top, roll the dough into an 11-inch-wide rectangle and cut it into 1” -1 ¼” strips. The strips need to be long enough to reach across the width of the spring form pan.

To Make the Filling

A photo of a pie crust lining a pan, a photo of a bowl of meat and cheese filing, a photo of the filling in the pie crust and a final photo of the pie with a lattice top.

Assemble and Bake the Pizza Rustica

9. Transfer the dough for the bottom crust to the pan and gently press it evenly into the bottom and up the sides. Using a sharp knife, trim the excess dough from around the top of the pan. 

10. Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until all of the ingredients are completely and evenly combined.

11. Pour the filling into the crust and press it into an even layer. 

12. Lay the top crust over the filling and cut a slit in the middle (or place the strips in a lattice formation over the filling) and press the edges into the bottom crust. Trim the excess crust. Brush the egg wash on all the exposed areas of the crust. 

Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake in the center of a preheated 350F degree oven for 75 minutes. 

Remove the pizza rustica from the oven and let it rest for about 20 minutes on a wire rack. Then remove the outer ring of the spring form pan and let it cool completely at room temperature. Once it cools, it can be removed from the bottom of the spring form pan and transferred to a serving plate. Cover and place it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Italian Easter Pie with a lattice crust.

Cooking Tips  

  • Measure the flour by spooning it into the measuring cup and leveling it off. If you scoop it you may end up with too much flour.
  • Don’t over knead the dough. You only need to knead it a few times to pull it all together.
  • Don’t worry if your crust breaks while you are placing it in the pan. You can easily piece it in and press it into place.
  • The crust has a lot of butter in it and it may leak from your pan while baking. Either cover the outside of the pan with aluminum foil or place the pan on a cookie sheet to catch any of the grease that might leak out.
  • Don’t over do it with the meats. Sometimes less is more! I speak from experience! Traditional Italian Easter pie is very dense and filling so I would select two or three of your favorite meats to enjoy in this recipe.

Variations

Different regions of Italy may add other ingredients to this rustic pie. In some areas, Italian sausage is cooked used in the filling in place of one of the cured meats. Other regions may add cooked spinach, parsley or even hard boiled eggs. So feel free to make your own creation with your favorite ingredients.

A slice of Italian Pizza Rustica which is a meat and cheese pie made with a flaky crust.

Storage and Freezing

Pizza Rustica should be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in the refrigerator. It can be eaten cold, but if you like it at room temperature then pull it out of the refrigerator about an hour before you are planning on eating it.

You can freeze leftovers by wrapping them tightly with plastic wrap and then placing them in a freezer bag or a freezer container.

I love to get your feedback so if you tried this Pizza Rustica or any other recipes on this website, please leave me a comment below.  I hope you enjoy our recipes and look forward to hearing from you!

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A lattice topped pie with a golden brown crust surrounded by parsley and a red towel.

Pizza Rustica Recipe

Pizza Rustica is a traditional Italian Easter pie. A decadent assortment of cheese and Italian cured meat make up the filling which is encased in a flaky crust and baked until golden brown.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12 servings
Calories 518 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Food processor
  • 1 Rolling Pin
  • 1 Springform pan

Ingredients
  

Crust

  • 1 cup Butter unsalted, very cold, cubed, plus more for greasing pan
  • cups Flour all purpose
  • 1 tsp Salt Kosher
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Eggs large
  • 7-10 tbsp Ice Water

Filling

  • ¼ lb. Mortadella cubed
  • ¼ lb. Soppressata cubed
  • ¼ lb. Capicola cubed, hot
  • ¼ lb. Provolone cheese cubed
  • ½ lb. Mozzarella cheese fresh, cubed
  • 8 oz. Ricotta cheese whole milk, drained
  • ½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese grated
  • ¼ tsp Black pepper ground
  • 2 Eggs large beaten
  • 1 Egg for the egg wash

Instructions
 

Crust

  • Combine the flour, baking powder and salt the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the butter and pulse until the flour mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add the eggs and pulse until mixed well.
  • Continue to pulse the food processor as you add the cold water one tablespoon at a time just until a dough ball forms
  • Remove the dough from the food processor, place it on a lightly floured surface, form it into a ball and knead it a few times. Cover it with plastic wrap. Set it aside to rest while you prepare the filling.

Filling

  • Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until all of the ingredients are completely and evenly combined.

Assemble and Bake

  • Preheat the oven to 350℉. Prepare a springform pan by greasing the bottom and sides with olive oil or butter and set it aside. Beat 1 egg with a teaspoon of water in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Divide the dough into two pieces, (one piece should be about 1/3 of the ball for the top and the other should be about 2/3 of the ball for the bottom crust).
  • Lightly flour your work surface and roll the larger piece of dough into a circle about 4 inches wider than the spring form pan you are using. The dough needs to cover the bottom and come up the sides of the pan. Transfer the dough to the pan and gently press it evenly into the bottom and up the the sides of the pan. Using a sharp knife, trim the excess dough from around the top of the pan. 
  • Roll the smaller piece of dough into a circle slightly large then your springform pan. *If you want to make a lattice top,  roll it into an 11-inch-wide rectangle and cut it into 1” -1 ¼” strips long enough to reach across the width of the spring form pan.
  • Pour the filling into the crust and press it into an even layer. Lay the top crust on top of the filling or place the strips in a lattice formation over the filling and press the edges into the bottom crust. Trim the excess crust and brush the egg wash on all the exposed areas of crust.
  • Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the pizza rustica from the oven and let it rest for about 20 minutes on a wire rack. Then remove the outer ring of the spring form pan and let it cool completely at room temperature. Once it cools it can be covered and placed in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Notes

Cooking Tips:
  • Measure the flour by spooning it into the measuring cup and leveling it off. If you scoop it you may end up with too much flour.
  • Don’t over knead the dough.
  • Don’t worry if your crust breaks while you are placing it in the pan. You can easily piece it in and press it into place.
  • The crust has a lot of butter in it and it may leak from your pan while baking. Either cover outside of the pan with aluminum foil or place the pan on a cookie sheet to catch any of the butter that might leak out.
  • Don’t over do it with the meats. Traditional Italian Easter pie is very dense and filling so I would select two or three of your favorite meats to enjoy in this recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 12servingsCalories: 518kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 21gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 19gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 1133mgPotassium: 161mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.5gVitamin A: 845IUCalcium: 280mgIron: 3mg
Keyword buttery crust, cheese, cured meats, Easter
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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4 Comments

  1. What exactly is Basket chees, my grandmother told me to use it in her recipe, never could find it, but I will try your recipe. Thank you

    1. Hi Lu Ann I am glad you are going to try my recipe! Basket cheese is a slightly sweet cow’s milk cheese that is kind of a cross between mozzarella and ricotta. It is a bit drier than ricotta. You might be able to find it in Italian specialty stores, but I have never seen in in any of our local grocery stores.

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