Eleanor Lombardi's Pizzagaina

Okay, I missed my blog's anniversary. I didn't mean to but things happen.
I am pleased to have been blogging for this long. Granted, this year has been pretty light, what with the flu and the hand and well other things. But enough of the sob story. Let's talk dinner. Pizzagaina. Italian Easter Meat Pie. My mom's recipe. Yes, every one's mom made the best meat pie but this is my blog so we will discuss what I consider to be the best recipe.

For the crust I use the Pate Brise, from the Silver Palate Cookbook. I just leave out the sugar and add pepper, about a 1/2 tsp.

On the recipe card I have noted that this recipe makes two pies. I think my mom used 12 inch pie dishes. I ended up with four 9 inch pies and a small pie.

Pate Brisee - (this recipe is for 2 pies, top and bottom crusts)

6 cups unbleached all purpose flour

2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
22 Tbsp sweet butter, chilled

12 Tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled
1 cup ice water


Sift the flour, salt and pepper together into a bowl; add butter and shortening and cut them into dry ingredients with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is like coarse meal.
Sprinkle on and blend in enough of the ice water to make a workable dough, mixing water in lightly with a fork.
Turn dough out onto your work surface and, using the heel of your hand, smear the dough away from you, about 1/4 cup at a time. Scrape up the smeared dough into a ball, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hours.



Eleanor Lombardi's Pizzagaina

2 pounds baked ham, diced
1 pound pepperoni, skinned, diced and boiled, drained (boiling removes excess grease)
1 pound sweet sausage, fully cooked, drained
1 pound basket cheese, diced
-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basket_cheese

Mix all ingredients. Roll out a quarter of the dough. Place the crust in pie dish. Use a pie dish with handles if you have one. You will want to check the bottom of the pie to see if it is browned. Add the half of meat and cheese mixture to the dish. Break and mix 3 eggs (each pie requires 3 eggs) and pour over the top of the meat. Roll out another quarter of the dough. Place on top of the meat. Crimp edges. Cut 3 slits in crust. Bake 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. (I baked mine for an hour and 15 minutes). Repeat this for the second pie.
 
With the meat recipe you may end up with enough for more than the two pies. Let just say it is one of those Easter miracles. I usually make enough dough for 6 pies just in case.  The crust recipe above is only for 2 pies. I prefer to make the crust in small batches. Making enough for 6 pies at once is more than my kitchen or I can handle.  The crust can go in the freezer so it is "like money in the bank."

This year Chris helped with the preparation. He cut all the meat and cheese. Boiled the pepperoni and cooked the sausage while I was preparing the crusts. I could not have done this without his help.

When the pies are in the oven keep an eye on overflow. The egg might spill out the slits. It may be a good idea to put some foil under the pie dishes on the lower rack. As long as the egg does not spill over you house will smell amazing. 

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