Saturday, May 9, 2009

Near and dear

Alright, this particular dish is near and dear to my heart. It's called Easter Pizza. This dates back to my great grandmother who came over from Calabria, Italy. It runs back generations and my family has made it each and every Easter, but never ever in between. It is to be made solely on Easter. It is absolutely hands down one of my favorites. And trust me-- I've been known to, ahem, beg on occasion for it to be made in between. Nope, never. Can't be done. Easter, and Easter only.

I've never in my life heard of anyone else who makes this dish--even other Italians. We've researched it and know it's a south Italian tradition, with each family having some variation: ham, salami, pepperoni, various Italian cheeses, eggs, no eggs, etc. Each version as unique as the region and the families.

Only this Easter did I run into a girl from work whose boyfriend is Italian and makes Easter pizza. Wha-at?! I was floored to say the least. Someone who knows of Easter Pizza and even knows it's called Easter Pizza?! It was so exciting for me to share such an esoteric tradition.
Okey doke, now comes the fun part, and one you've probably been asking since the beginning of this post. Great, Tiff, but what IS Easter Pizza. Ahhh let me indulge you. (And it is quite the indulgence!)

We first start with a homemade dough for the bottom and sides. Then comes the glorious filling. Salami (genoa or hard, depending which has a better flavor at that particular time), pepperoni, diced hard boiled eggs, mozzarella, provolone, and ricotta.

BUT WAIT. 'Tiff, you always speak of healthy food and eating,' you may be asking yourself. Yes, you are correct. But, and this is a big but, I also believe it tradition. I believe in food transcending you to another place and time. Family, friends, memories.

And plus, you do only eat it once a year. ;) Moderation, my friends, moderation.
But I digress. Back to the receipe. You mix together the salami, pepperoni, hard boiled eggs, mozzarella, and provolone. Pour the mixture over the bottom dough. Top with more mozzarella, if desired, and spread ricotta over the entire mixture.

This one is my grandmother's for the past Easter. See the thick slices of fresh mozzarella on top? Oh yes.
The two below are my mom's version. We had two this Easter--which we've never done before-- because I begged for leftovers. =) That makes for a very happy me. Plus, some friends from work have come to know the gloriousness that is Easter Pizza and they, too, crave it! So, who was I to deny them and not bring home leftover?! After the ricotta is spread over the mixture, the top dough is placed on top and sealed with the bottom dough around the whole pizza. Score the top and egg wash the top of the pizza and bake in a 350 degree oven, until the crust turns a beautiful brown and the mixture bubbles.Look at those layers!!Now the one below is grandma's. I couldn't get a clean slice because of all the cheese. And that makes it even better. You have never ever tasted something like this. I absolutely guarantee it. I love food that brings family together.


melissa said...

This is awesome beyond words haha. And so funny you finally found someone else who knew what it was.

Tiffany said...

It was really funny to find someone who knew what it was! It was like finding a long-lost relative! Either way, it is amazing.