I enjoyed this delectable Italian sausage and cheese pie many years ago at my fellow cookbook author and longtime friend
This is an exciting party recipe because it is so decorative and slices beautifully. It is very convenient because it can be made and baked a day ahead and it is best eaten warm or at room temperature. It also has an excellent texture and intensified flavor when reheated.
|whole-milk ricotta cheese, preferably fresh|
|fine sea salt||.|
|black pepper, freshly ground||.||.|
|pecorino Romano cheese, grated|
|whole-milk mozzarella cheese, preferably a firmer variety||.|
|dried sausage, such as cacciatorino or sopressata (see Note)||.|
One 9 by 2 inch round cake pan (preferably with a removable bottom), lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray | A baking stone or baking sheet (see Note) | A foil ring to protect the edges of the crust
Empty the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Holding each end of the plastic wrap, use your knuckles to knead the dough just until the dough becomes one smooth piece.
Cut off one-third of the dough (
The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
Forty-five minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it.
Remove the larger piece of dough from the refrigerator. If necessary, let it sit for about 10 minutes, or until it is malleable enough to roll.
On a floured pastry cloth, pastry mat, or between two sheets of lightly floured plastic wrap, roll and trim the bottom crust into a ⅛ inch thick disc roughly 14 inches in diameter. Fold it gently into fourths and transfer it to the cake pan. Unfold the dough, easing it into the pan without stretching it. Allow the dough to hang over the edge of the pan. Layer the scraps on top of the refrigerated dough for the lattice crust.
Roll the remaining dough into a 10 inch square. Cut it into ten 1 inch wide strips.
Moisten the top of the dough resting on the rim of the pan with the egg glaze. To create a woven lattice decoration, arrange half of the strips evenly over the filling, starting in the center. Gently curve back every other strip a little past the center so that the next strip can be placed at a 45 degree angle to the first strips, right at the center. Uncurve the strips so that they lie flat on top of the angled strip. Working in the same direction, curve back the strips that were not curved back the first time. Lay a second angled strip on top and uncurve the strips. Repeat with 1 more strip.
Apply the remaining 2 strips to the other side of the pie. Start toward the center and work in the opposite direction toward the edge. Remember always to alternate the strips that are curved back so that the strips weave in and out.
If desired, for an easier method of applying the strips, instead of weaving them, simply place
Press the tops of the strips firmly into the dough where they rest against the rim. With scissors, trim the overhanging dough so that it is even with the rim of the pan and push the dough away from the rim so that it rests completely within the pan. (This makes unmolding easier.) Brush the strips well with the egg glaze.
Set the pan directly on the baking stone.
Cool the pizza rustica on a wire rack for about 2 hours, or until barely warm, before unmolding it.
To unmold, place one or more folded paper towels on top of the lattice crust to be even with the rim of the pan. Cover the top of the pan with a dish towel to protect the crust’s edges. Invert the pan onto a flat plate and lift off the pan. Reinvert the pie onto a serving plate and remove the towels. (If using a pan with a removable bottom, place the pan on top of a container that is smaller than the opening of the pan’s outer rim. Slide down the sides of the pan. Slide a pancake turner between the bottom of the pizza rustica and the pan’s bottom and slide it onto a serving plate.) Serve warm or at room temperature.
Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and press the ricotta through it. Add the eggs, salt, and pepper and whisk until blended. Whisk in the grated pecorino.
Slice the mozzarella thinly and peel and cut the sausage into ¼ inch cubes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and milk. Cover tightly with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation.
Room temperature, 4 hours. Airtight: refrigerated, 3 days.
Copyright © 2014 by Cordon Rose, LLC. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.