Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I'm back, once again, with a savory bread for Easter. In Campania there are basically two savory breads for Pasqua: tortano and casatiello. The main difference between the two is that to qualify as a casatiello the bread needs to be decorated with 6 raw eggs on the shell which will be secured on top of the bread before baking with a cross of dough.
I have followed the recipe that Maria Letizia published on Gennarino forum, living out not just the eggs on top but also the salame and the pepper in the dough. Salame in cooking is very "napoletano" and I really don't like the taste of cooked salame. In general, I am sorry to say, cucina napoletana is not in my likings, I really find it too heavy and greasy. And I have a strange relationship with pepper, I like spicy food but I am very sensitive to pepper, it spoils the taste of food, for me, I only like it on mussels!
Maria Letizia recipe has the peculiarity to spead the lard and give turns to the dough to achieve a semi puff pastry effect. I have seen other recipes where this is not done and in the filling, just to lighten up the dough, apart from grated cheeses, cubed cheese, cracklings and salame there are also boil eggs in wedges evenly distributed on the dough before rolling.

You will need

600 g of bread flour
25 g of fresh cake yeast or 2 and half teaspoons of instant yeast
225 g lard (good lard!)
1 scanty tablespoon of salt
grated pecorino and parmigiano
150 g of provolone ( I used a caciocavallo)
If you decide to go with Maria Letizia recipe you'll need also 100 g of cubed salame napoletano to add with the cubed cheese, pepper and 6 eggs to secure on top of the bread.

Sift the flour add the yeast, 1 tablespoon salt, 50 g of soft lard and enough water to make a soft dough (about 350 g of water, more or less). Let proof in a warm spot until it doubles in bulk

I rolled out the dough to 1 cm thickness and spread 1/4 of the remaining lard with a spatula, sprinkle with grated pecorino and parmigiano.

I folded the dough in 3, like for puff pastry and let rest 20-30 minutes in the fridge. And you basically keep rolling the dough and folding until the lard it is used up, I manage in four times.

When you roll the dough out the 4th time, after spreading the lard, distribute on top the cubed cheese. And roll up tightly starting from the longer side.

Lenghten the roll to fit a 26 cm diameter (measured on top) tubed pan.

Let proof until it reaches the top of the mold. Brush with egg wash and bake in a preaheated oven at 180 C. Covering it with aluminum if it gets dark too quickly. It with take about 50 minutes, test the doness with a long skewer.

Let cool 5 minutes before unmolding and completly cool on a wrack before slicing.

Here how it come out

My impressions: the crust if really flaky, like for puff pastry, the crumb is really tender, soft, very good. But it is very, very rich. I tried it for the sake of trying a traditional food but to my taste is not something I could eat every day.


Elizabeth said...

In light of your growing collection of wonderful Easter breads, I thought you might be interested in this link to a version Cesare Lanfranconi, originally from Lombardia. His Torta Pasqualina includes ricotta, artichokes and chard; the link is to a farmers market in the United States: Enjoy!

Franci said...

Thanks Elizabeth, pasqualina is a staple, I love it!
The chef takes a shortcut with phyllo, good if you are in a rush or not really skilled at rolling out very thin layers of dough.

elianto said...

fantastico questo tortano!
La prossima volta che vengo a trovare mia sorella in London, ci inviti a cena? ;)

Alex said...

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