This recipe for Italian Easter Pie – also known as Easter Pizza, Ricotta Pie, or Italian Pizza Rustica – has been one of my favorite recipes all my life. The ones you only get to eat once a year always are, right?
If you’re Italian like me, you are most likely some form of Catholic, and this means that Easter is THE holiday. Not Christmas. Easter. Nowadays, Russell and I are pretty much heathens, but the benefits of growing up in a family that celebrates Easter is that you get to taste all kinds of delicious food you never get to eat any other time of year. This Italian Easter pie is definitely one of those recipes, and the number of variations of it that exist are astounding.
This recipe goes by a few different names, though in my family we always called it Easter Pie or Easter Pizza. And there is a difference between the two; one is made with pie crust (and is the flaky gooey deliciousness that I prefer) while the other is made with pizza crust and is much more hearty. The recipe below is the pie crust version.
From what I understand, the tradition behind this recipe has a lot to do with the religious Easter holiday and specifically, the giving up of meat during Lent. The pie traditionally calls for lots of salted meat, such as ham, preserved pork, or prosciutto, which any good Catholic would not be allowed to eat during the final days leading up to Easter. So what do you do? You throw all the salted meat you can find in a pie crust, add a bunch of Italian cheese and chopped up Easter eggs, and have yourselves a feast during Easter brunch. I’ve also read that many families make this pie with Easter leftovers, as a way to get rid of extra ham. Between Russell and I, there’s never any leftover ham. 😉
We will be traveling this year over Easter, and won’t be cooking, so I decided to make an Easter pie for us to enjoy early. I have to remember this recipe the next time I’m craving cheese, salt, and carbs, because it hits all of those points with enthusiasm. I threw my version together from memory with what I had on hand, and a few days later while spring cleaning, I found the original recipe my family used. Thank you, Aunt Antoinette.
The most time consuming part of making this recipe is hard-boiling the eggs, especially if you use pre-made pie crust. You can follow my family’s traditional recipe above, or you can follow my modern version, below. The main difference is the type of meat you use, which you can customize to your liking.
Italian Easter Pie Recipe
Please see below to view a printable version of the recipe.
Italian Easter Pie Recipe
- 2 pre-made pie crusts, thawed and ready to roll
- 16 ounce container of ricotta cheese
- 8 medium-sized pearls of mozzarella cheese (if you add more or less, it will not break the pie, promise)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 hard boiled eggs
- 1/8 pound of sandwich pepperoni (buy 1/4 pound of both lunch meats, use half, and make panini sandwiches with the rest!)
- 1/8 pound of hard salami
- 1 tablespoon of parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 raw egg
- glass pie dish
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Hard-boil your eggs; cool and peel. Then chop.
- In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, parmesan, and mozzarella. Slice the mozzarella into smaller pieces if you’d like.
- Add the chopped egg and stir.
- Start tearing the pepperoni and salami into thin strips, adding to the bowl. If you have a food chopper and you want to chop, you can do that, but I like the longer strips.
- Add parsley, salt, and pepper, then stir to combine all ingredients.
- Lay one pie crust over the pie dish and shape. Add filling, then lay second pie crust over dish to close. Pinch the edges and cut a slice in the top to vent.
- Wash with egg yolk.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the crust is golden brown. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing so all the cheese doesn’t run out (learned that one the hard way!)
This can be eaten cold or hot, for breakfast or a midnight snack. I usually nuke leftovers, but re-heating in the oven is probably much better. I’m too impatient for that.
I’ve made this recipe adding an extra beaten egg into the mixture before baking, and personally, I like it better without the extra egg. I believe it was meant to combine the filling so it doesn’t run, but I felt it did the opposite and took away from the flavor of the cheese. I know you’re going to laugh, but it probably all depends on the weather. Some days this dish may set up better than others depending on what else you are cooking in your kitchen, the humidity levels, etc. On it’s own, this takes about 35 minutes to cook to a nice golden brown and set up properly.
Happy Easter, all! I hope you enjoy all of the savory Easter food to be found.