Eastertide Artichoke Pies
This is an updated Niçois version of Genoa's classic torta pasqualina, or Eastertide torta (itself probably dating from the 16th century and often filled with Swiss chard instead of artichokes).
Yield: serves 8
For the Dough
- 3 1⁄3 cups flour, sifted
- 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1⁄4 tsp. salt
For the Filling
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and minced
- 1 1⁄2 cups well-drained ricotta
- 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1⁄3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 fresh medium artichoke hearts, diced
- For dough: Mix together flour, oil, egg, salt, and 3⁄4 cup cold water in a large bowl until dough just holds together. (Do not knead dough too much; it should be fairly dry.) Divide dough into 2 balls, using two-thirds of dough for bottom crusts and one-third for top crusts. Roll out dough for bottom crusts on a floured surface until very thin and almost transparent, then cut out eight 6 1⁄2'' circles. Wrap bottom crusts in plastic and set aside. Roll out dough for top crusts on floured surface and cut out eight 5'' circles. Wrap top crusts in plastic and set aside.
- For filling: Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until slightly golden, about 5–7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Mix together ricotta, parsley, parmigiano-reggiano, and sautéed onions in a large bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 375°. To assemble pies, place bottom crusts on a lightly oiled and floured baking sheet. Spoon 1 1⁄2 tbsp. filling on each bottom crust and spread evenly, leaving 1 1⁄2'' of crust exposed around edge. Divide artichokes between pies, arranging on top of filling, then spoon another 1 1⁄2 tbsp. filling on top of each and add top crusts.
- To form pies, fold edges of bottom crusts over edges of top crusts, pinch to seal, and then fold over again to create a slightly thicker edge. Brush tops with a little oil, then slit top of each pie 4 times in a crisscross pattern to allow steam to escape during baking. Bake until slightly golden, about 30 minutes.