Italian Easter Ham Pie

This Italian Easter ‘pie’ has many names and several variations as to crust and fillings. This is the version that I decided to make, but if you want to look for others, here are some names to look for:Β  Italian Easter Ham pie, pizzagaina (or chiena,chena,cena), pizza rustica, pizza ripiena, pizza piena.

Italian Easter Ham Pie for Two – makes 2 4-inch diameter mini deep dish pies

pastry for a pie crust bottom only

140 gm dry curd cheese or cottage cheese or ricotta**
40-50 gm grated Mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten, 1 tbsp removed for egg wash
1/2 tsp dry parsley
1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6-8 slices diced deli meat (pepperoni, Genoa salami, capocollo or smoked ham)

Egg wash – 1 tbsp beaten egg and a splash of cream or milk

** Home made paneer cheese (an Indian dry curd cheese) was used. I got 290 gm (10.44 oz) of drained cheese from 2 liters (8 cups) of milk and 1/4 cups of white vinegar.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll out two bases (8 inches in diameter) and two tops (5 inches in diameter) and line two deep dish disposable aluminum pie tins with the bases. Set aside the tops.

Mix together the filling ingredients and fill the pie tins. Press down a bit on the filling to compact it.

Moisten the edges of the bases, put on the tops, seal and, with the tines of a fork, seal again. Place the pie tins on a baking sheet for convenient transfer to the oven.

Brush the top of the pies with the egg wash and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the two pie tins to a cooling rack. Cool for 30 minutes to set the filling.

The pies may be eaten warm, room temperature or cold with a salad for a complete meal or on their own for a snack.

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20 thoughts on “Italian Easter Ham Pie

  1. My dear Mom used to make a ham braid with the leftover ham; she’d grind it in the meat grinder and mix it with broccoli florets and some type of cheese, if I’m not mistaken, she also finely chopped pickles and mixed it in. She used a simple pie crust that was a bit sturdier than North American pie crust. We had it hot or cold, it was always my favourite part of Easter. I love your recipe with the paneer, ricotta would be equally as tasty. Hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend.

    1. Apparently this pie is a ‘thing’ in Italian cooking for Easter. The odds and ends of deli/smoked meats and salamis are used up in this pie. Pizza dough is used in some versions. I’ve even seen a type of biscuit/scone dough … the ricotta/mozzarella are ‘must haves’.

  2. How marvelous! I’ve been wanting to make an Italian pie for ages, but mimic one they used to serve at a fave lunch place when I worked downtown. It’s closed now, but layers of roasted red pepper, zucchini and eggplant and lots of cheese! Your pies are darling (but making me hungry!)

    1. Thank you for the comment. A full sized pie like you describes sounds delicious. I look forward to seeing the post.

      I tried to imitate the pizzagaina/pizza rustica that I saw being posted on the FB cooking groups that I am a member of and the deli meats and cheeses I used were as authentic as I could manage. No veggies were used in them however. (Not that that is a hardship for me. ) πŸ™‚

      1. I DO eat veggies … raw broccoli, roasted asparagus and carrots. Sweet corn on the cob. I’ve even had zucchini. I’m just not fond of a lot of others. πŸ™‚

        I don’t know if it’s a revival … there are a lot of Italian members on one of the FB groups and they make huge pies (in springform pans) and as many as a dozen 9″ pies made in regular pie plates. It seems to be a regular dish on their tables.

      2. I’ve just have seen them all over this year, like more than usual. But maybe just because there are so many more bloggers these days, too. When I went looking to recreate the “pie” I had, I could hardly find anything on it but that was a number of years ago. ! It sounds like a great FB group! It’s crazy what some ppl do for the holiday. Ya gotta admire that dedication! The “pie” i had was from a Swedish diner/bakery and at first I didn’t even know it was an Italian Pie, btw.

        I know, and I see veggies here, on your blog…I just won’t mention tomatoes lol!!

      3. Oooops my bad!! I was thinking of the raw! There’s plenty of veggies I’ve never developed a taste for. Just about any of the hard squashes, for one. *shivers*

      4. Squashes. Really? I quite like roasted butternut and acorn squash. Diced and roasted and added to couscous or basmati rice or mashed and turned into a ravioli filling. I’ve only tried spaghetti squash a few times so it’s a work in progress but I may get it right eventually.

    1. Thank you. It’s a very tasty pie and if you make a full sized one, it’s nice and filling with all that cheese, some eggs and meat. Even thought it’s called a ‘ham’ pie, it’s not designed for leftover ham (I don’t think Italians really eat the kind of hams that we do) but for the odds and ends of dried and smoked sausages and salamis that are found in delis. If I was making a full sized pie, the meats would be cubed into about 1/2 inch pieces but the thinly sliced deli meats that I used were more convenient and economical for me. Gam = gammon?? Love reading all our various food terms. We’re so international. πŸ™‚

      1. Pancetta would be nice or proscuitto (I buy those ends which they can’t put into the slicing machine) at a discount, but various salamis, soppresatta, capocollo, sweet or hot Italian sausage removed from the casing and sauteed and then drained, pepperoni sausage work too … a nice combination of flavours. The ham you have would be great but I don’t think I’d want it to be ALL that ham. I’m going by the recipes I’ve seen posted and what is available to you locally.

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