Pizza Ebraica di Erbe
Double-crusted vegetable pie
By Joyce Goldstein
Reprinted with permission from Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen (Chronicle Books).
Called a Jewish-style pizza, this dish probably has its origins in the Italian south. Here the word pizza is related to the Greek pitta, a name for filo pies and a term still in use in Apulia, where many dishes reflect a Greek heritage. This recipe calls for pasta frolla salata, a short pastry that gives it a wonderful richness.
For the Pastry
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 to 10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter or margarine
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 to 4 tablespoons water, or as needed
For the Filling
Juice of 1 lemon
3 large or 5 medium artichokes
1 large onion, diced
I large bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 pound beet greens or spinach, coarsely chopped
2 pounds English peas, shelled (about 2 cups shelled)
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Olive oil or lightly beaten egg for coating pastry
To make the pastry, stir together the flour and salt in a bowl or in the container of a food processor. Cut in the butter or margarine until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Blend in the egg and as much water as needed for the dough to come together into a rough ball. Divide the dough in into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other, and flatten each portion into a disk. Place the disks in a plastic bag and refrigerate for one hour.
To make the filling, have ready a large bowl filled with water to which you have added the lemon juice. Working with one artichoke at a time, remove the stems and all the leaves until you reach the pale green heart. Pare away the dark green areas from the base. Cut the artichoke in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the choke from each half. Then cut each half lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and drop into the lemon water to prevent discoloration.
Pour enough olive oil into a large sauté pan to form a film on the bottom and place over medium heat. Add the onion and parsley and sauté three to four minutes. Drain the artichokes and add to the pan along with the greens and peas. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook slowly until the mixture is almost dry, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool, and season with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mix in the eggs.
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the larger pastry disk into an l1-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Carefully transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Spoon in the filling. Roll out the remaining pastry disk in the same way into a 10-inch round. Carefully place over the filling. Trim any excessive overhang, then turn under the pastry edges and pinch together. Cut a few steam vents in the top crust, then brush with olive oil or beaten egg.
Bake until the crust is golden, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
If you are worried about the bottom crust becoming soggy, sprinkle a thin layer of fine dried bread crumbs over the pastry before adding the filling. Alternatively, blind bake the bottom crust for 15 minutes, lining it with pie weights, let cool, and then add the filling.
This vegetable filling is suitable for making scacchi, a matzah pie. Use it in place of the meat filling, and substitute vegetable broth for the meat broth.