pi(e) day!

pizza rustica

besides warm weather, i am also a sucker for foodie blog events. time constraints mean i don't get to participate in as many as i would like, and inevitably i am always super-last-minute, but when i saw the event to celebrate the revered mathematical constant coming i knew i had to join up!

i am also very weak at the knees when it comes to books. i don't "browse" amazon or strand. if i'm online or in the aisles, i will most certainly find something i want to buy! my usual book buys have always been literature (typically russian) or history (typically german) but for the past month i have just been flat-out obsessed with increasing my collection of baking books. thanks to the wonderful experience of the daring bakers, i received some good recommendations. and here you have it ... the four new books that are now gracing my shelves:

so of course for pi day i just had to try a new recipe from a new book. i didn't want to do a fruit pie because i like to keep those in-season. pecan pie was out for the same reason. i've already made key lime and lemon meringue and wanted something different, but coconut cream wasn't doing it for me. i browsed and pondered and finally settled on the original diva of american kitchens, ms. julia child. her pizza rustica sounded so delish.

i had to do some substitutions with what i had on hand (the recipe below is as written). i used chives instead of parsley and parmesan instead of pecorino. even though the dough wasn't challenging, this was the first time i was going to do a lattice top, so i was excited. then i realized that to do a "true" lattice top takes a lot of time and space, none of which i had tonight. so i did just the regular criss-cross lattice and it still looks beautiful! the crust also of course came out a little too brown around the edge, so if you make this keep on eye on it and tent it if you'd like something more even looking.

so pizza rustica is my entry for pi day, a nice savory option. i can't wait to see what every one else comes up!

pizza rustica: serves 8-10
from baking with julia (1996, p. 430)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, cut into pieces
2 large eggs, slightly beaten

1. put flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into food processor; pulse a few times to mix. add butter and pulse 15-20 times, or until mixture resembles cornmeal.

2. with machine running, add the eggs and process until dough forms ball on blade.

3. remove dough and knead it until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. divide the dough in two pieces, one twice as large as the other. wrap in plastic and set aside until needed (you can refrigerate in advance for up to 3 days).

1 lb ricotta
3 large eggs
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
1/4 lb mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 lb thinly sliced prosciutto, shredded
2 tb chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp pepper

1. in medium bowl, stir ricotta with spatula until smooth. add rest of the ingredients one at a time, stirring until each addition is incorporated and well blended.

2. preheat oven to 350F. butter 9-inch pie pan.

3. knead the large dough piece into disk and roll out on lightly floured surface to fit pie pan (about 12" circle). transfer dough to pan and press on bottom and up sides; trim excess. fill pan with ricotta filling.

4. knead and shape the remaining piece of dough into 9-inch square. using pastry cutter or small sharp knife, cut dough into 12 even strips. lay strips across the pie, in criss cross (easy way is to lay the 6, and then lay the other 6 the opposite way). trim edges of lattice and pinch to seal.

5. bake for 35-40 minutes until crust is golden and filling is firm and slightly puffed. transfer pie to rack and cool completely before serving.


  1. This is really lovely and brought back memories of the pizza rustica from The Vegetarian Epicure (no prosciuto of course) that was a staple dish in our house when I was in college.

  2. So pretty! And it sounds delicious too. Another dinner pie inspiration...Thanks.

  3. That's some really sophisticated lattice work for a "rustic" pie! I guess Julia's standards are just higher! Libby

  4. thanks susan, lisa, and allergy mom! we considered using fake bacon and i'm sure it would have been just as tasty. i've been noshing on the leftovers since. and it may look fancy lattice but that just be because the italians appreciate the finer things in cooked life more than us ... julia says that these are just typical finger foods in italy!

  5. What a beautiful dish!
    Ann at Redacted Recipes