Easter Ham Pie aka “Pizza gaina”

The traditional Easter ham pie is something of a must have in our house growing up and was left to me to chop for many years. It goes by several names aka “Pizza gaina” (or pizza ghan, puzza rustica, pizza china) and seems that the variations on the name is as abundant as the variations on the dough type; from crisp, flaky, savory pie to doughy pizza style.

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Easter Ham Pie aka "Pizza gaina"

The traditional Easter ham pie is something of a must have in our house growing up and was left to me to chop for many years. It goes by several names aka "Pizza gaina" (or pizza ghan, puzza rustica, pizza china) and seems that the variations on the name is as abundant as the variations on the dough type; from crisp, flaky, savory pie to doughy pizza style.

Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Author CyberGuy

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 1/8 tsp Ground Pepper or more to taste for dough
  • 6 large Eggs For Dough
  • 3/4 cup Shortening I use Crisco brand
  • 4 1/2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Grated cheese (Parmesan) for dough
  • 2 tbsp ice water as needed

For the Filling

  • 1/2 lb Pepperoni Use the traditional sticks not the larger slicing one.
  • 1/2 lb Prosciutto
  • 1/2 lb HOT Capicola or Hot Sopressata
  • 1/2 lb hard salami
  • 1/2 lb Genoa salami
  • 1/2 lb Procuittini You can substitute this with any other pepper coated hame they have
  • 1/2 lb Abbruzese
  • 6 - 12 Large Eggs (see notes for quantities)
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Grated cheese (parmesan or pecorino romano) to taste
  • 2 tsp Salt or to taste
  • 1 lb Basket Cheese
  • 1/2 lb Provolone Other recipes use ricotta etc.

Instructions

Meat Prep (up to 2 days a head)

  1. get all your meat unwrapped and peeled

  2. Cut all the meats and cheese in small cube. 1/4 to a 1/2 inch

    Mix and store for when ready to use

Making the Dough

  1. in a large flat bowl (or on your counter - you can also use a mixer), shift flour, salt.  Add ground pepper and grated cheese. 

  2. Add the shorting  and work in quickly. Use a pastry cuter if you have one.

    Add the eggs and mix, adding up to 2 tablespoons of iced water as needed to bring the dough together.

    knead and form into a ball. 

    DO NOT OVER WORK. 

  3. You have two options now:

    >> You can divide the dough in 4, shape into discs and wrap and chill for 30 min or overnight  or

    >> Divide the dough into 4 ball;  Roll out and fit into your pans, pressing up the sides. Cut off at any extra to save as decoration on the top.

    I used a quick dash of cooking spray under the dough for quick release.

    Both ways work fine.

For the filling (wet mix first)

  1. Crack and whisk the remaining eggs

  2. Add salt, pepper, grated cheese

Assembling the Pie

  1. Using either a 9in spring form pan (or an 8 inch one will do - but use less of everything) or simple foil cake pans

  2. Spinkle some grated cheese  top of the dough at the bottom

  3. Place  2 cups (for foil pans) or 3 1/2 - 4 cups (for spring form pan) of meat and cheese mix in each prepared pan and spread it out. It should be no more than 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up the sides.

  4. Pour the wet batter over the meat and cheese. Using the back of a wooden spoon gently mix in.

    By volume the foil pans take about 6-7 eggs worth of the batter and the springform will take up to 12 - 13 eggs.

    Essentially you want to barely cover the meat mixture. 

  5. Add any decorative topping you want with the left over dough (i.e. a cross hatch or cut out shapes)

    Brush with left over egg batter or butter

    Sprinkle with more grated cheese

Baking Times

  1. My mom refers to use is 350 degrees for 60 - 75 minutes or until the toothpick comes out dry for the foil pans (my oven was dead on at 60 minutes. (For the larger springform - plan for another 20 min).

    I liked this version and liked out it came out - preheat the over to 425 and bake for 9 minutes, then reduce heat for 1 hours (and  and up to an additional 20 minutes for larger pans). 

  2. If you use a springform pan - be sure and five it a foil "condom" in case it leaks 

  3. Let them cool on a rack, in the pan until, cool to the touch

    Then remove them and let finish cooling on the rack (remember they will still be hot inside)

  4. You can serve these warm, room temp or cold. They freeze great!

Recipe Notes

Over all this is a pretty forgiving pie.

It just takes some planing and time.

Don't get hung up on the portions - you can add more or less.

For the pans - I even tried it in a loaf pan and it came out great. The disposable foil pans are a good fit for this, but make them on a sheet pan.

You can change up the meats and cheeses to suit your taste as well as add other stuff like roasted peppers or greens or fresh herbs! 

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