Ricotta and spinach quiche

And we are to the second installment of world on a plate. For those of you that missed the first episode, World on a Plate is a monthly blogging event at which bloggers from around the world get together and share a typical recipe from their home country. Today we are doing picnic.

Picnics apparently are popular in all countries. What people do with picnics probably not so much… So Biren is going to tell us how they do it in Malaysia, Ewa about Sweden, Katherine about the US, Hyosun about Korea, Raymund about the Philippines, Sofie about Germany, Suchi about Northerm India and Vijitha about Southern India and I am telling you about Italian ones.

In Italy picnics are a outdoor business usually with no tables or utensils. People pack their supplies get somewhere nice. Walk for a while and settle down on the grass or on the beach to have their meal.

There is an official picnic day in Italy too. It is the day after Easter. That Monday is seen as the beginning of spring and people go have picnics in the country side, at the beach or on the mountains to celebrate the beginning of the outdoor season.

For this “pasquetta” (literally little easter)  picnic the menu includes 3 staples: salami, boiled eggs and torta pasqualina a quiche made with ricotta, spinach and boiled eggs. For other picnics we generally end up eating 1 panino or 2. Panino for us is just bread filled with cured ham and cheese. there is a grilled version that usually is eaten at lunch in bars, but the panino for a picnic is not grilled, not hot and not overstuffed, just a simple sandwich. There are a number of rules on panini, but since here I’m talking about torta pasqualina, head over to Paolo’s blog for a great overview of panini.

Back to torta pasqualina. The quiche has a special crust that is supposed to have 33 layers to symbolize the age of Christ. I have never bothered to make more than 3. And I have to say even 1 layer is good enough, if you do not want to bother with the layering.

The other special feature of this cake is the whole eggs. The eggs are cooked whole in the quiche. You place them in the quiche raw and they cook with the quiche and come out hard boiled. Awesome isn’t it?

Anyway, check out what people do for picnics around the world! I’m looking forward to discovering more!!

Ricotta and spinach quiche

Ingredients

Crust

    • 1/2 lb flour
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 2 sticks butter
    • 1 pinch salt

Filling

  • 1 packet frozen spinach
  • 1 tub ricotta
  • 4 eggs
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions

Crust

    1. Quickly mix the flour, the salt and the butter until the flour comes together in crumbs.
    2. Add enough water to hydrate the mixture so the crumbs stick together. You will have to add between 1/4 and 3/4 of a cup of water. Stop as soon as the crumbles of dough stick together.
    3. Shape the dough in a brick and place in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes.
    4. When the dough is well chilled, take it out and give it 3 or 4 folds. For the folds, roll out the brick of dough in a sheet about 3 times the length of the brick and just as wide. Fold the sheet in 3 to get a new brick about the size of the original one and turn 90 degrees. Repeat the rolling out and folding 2 or 3 times.

Filling

    1. Boil the spinach in salted water. Drain them as soon as they are cooked through and let them cool down.
    2. Mix the cold spinach with the ricotta and add salt and pepper to taste.

Assembling

  1. Divide the dough in 4 pieces and roll the out in very thin sheets. Place two sheets on the bottom of a spring form pan.
  2. Fill the crust with the spinach filling. Create 4 wells in the filling and break an egg into each one. Cover with the remaining 2 sheets of dough. Seal the borders and trim off the access dough.
  3. Cook in a 375F oven for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Serve cold.

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