Italian Easter Meat Pie
This rich and fabulous pie is traditionally served on the Saturday before Easter in many Italian households. It is almost a meal in itself, and needs only a tossed salad to complete the meal. You may add your favorite sautéed vegetables such as mushrooms and spinach if you like, and if you have some very thin sliced ham, you can line the crust with it prior to putting in the filling. If you can afford it, you can line the crust with prosciutto before putting in the filling.
4 3/4 cups flour, (20 ounces)
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups warm water
6 large eggs
1 small onion, finely chopped and sautéed in a little olive oil until limp
2 pounds part-skim ricotta cheese
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, (4 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 pound lean ham , cut into 1/4-1/2" cubes (about 2 cups)
1/2 pound Genoa salami, cut into 1/4-1/2" cubes (about 2 cups)
1/2 pound pepperoni, cut into 1/4-1/2" cubes (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Crust: Mix the crust ingredients in a bread machine and set the machine to dough.
Alternately, mix the dough ingredients in a mixer with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let rise until doubled; punch down.
Divide the dough into four pieces, two slightly larger than the others (the larger ones will be bottom crusts). Grease 2 9" pie pans thoroughly; set aside.
Roll out a large piece of dough to a large circle that will hang over the pie pans at least 2-3 inches, on a lightly floured pastry cloth; set aside to rest and roll the other large piece out. After both pieces have rested for 5 minutes or so, roll them out again and drape them over the prepared pie pans. Roll the other two pieces of dough just larger than the pie pans, let sit as above, then reroll.
Filling: Mix all the filling ingredients and divide between the two dough-lined pans.
Assembly: Drape the top crusts over the filling and bring the bottom crust up and over the edge of the top crust. Seal the two together by pinching with your fingers, then crimp. With a small 1" round biscuit cutter, cut a hole in the middle of each of the pies (for steam).
Place the pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then place in a preheated 325° oven. Bake the pies for 85-90 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp on the outside. Remove from the oven and brush each pie with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Return to the oven and bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them rest for at least 1 hour before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.