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traditional easter pie recipe

This simplified version of Torta Pasqualina, the traditional Italian Easter pie from Liguria, is made with spinach and ricotta, poached eggs and crunchy filo pastry.


Serves 6 to 8 

280g jar baby artichokes in olive oil, drained (reserve the oil) and halved 
500g (1lb 2oz) ready-washed fresh spinach, trimmed and chopped 
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
75g (3oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
200g (7oz) ricotta cheese 
3 tbsp freshly chopped mixed herbs 
generous pinch of nutmeg 
8 medium eggs 
25g (1oz) butter 
16 sheets filo pastry, halved 

You will need 
a 23cm (9in) spring-form tin 

1 Preheat the oven to 180 C, 160 C fan oven, 350 F, gas 4. Heat 2 tbsp of the reserved artichoke oil in a pan and cook the artichokes, spinach and garlic for 3 minutes, stirring. Leave to cool, then beat in the Parmesan, ricotta, herbs, nutmeg and one egg and season. 


2 Using a little butter, grease the tin and use nine sheets of the filo to generously line the base and sides, brushing with butter as you go. Spoon half the spinach mixture in to the tin. Top with a couple of layers of filo, then add half the remaining spinach mixture. Carefully make six small wells and break one egg into each. Cover with a double layer of filo, the remaining spinach mixture and then more filo, tucking in the edges to enclose. Use the remaining filo to make a lid. 


3 Glaze the top of the pie with the remaining egg and bake for 50 minutes. Unclip the edges of the tin, brush the pie with a little more glaze and bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm with a rocket salad and Roasted aubergines and red peppers.

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