Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fiadoni di Pasqua (Easter Cheese Tart from Abruzzo)

Those savory cheese tarts were always present in our Easter celebration. My moms would make hundreds of them to share with friends and neighbors.

Pastry dough

• 1 cup flour

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1/8 teaspoon baking powder (optional)

• 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold butter

• ¼ cup water or more (as needed).


• 8 oz ricotta

• 4 oz parmesan cheese (or a combination of pecorino and parmesan)

• 1 egg

• pinch of nutmeg

To make the dough: In a bowl or on a cool surface, mix together the flour, salt and sugar. Cut the cold butter into 1/2-inch pieces aprox. Add the cubed butter to the dry ingredients and, using a bowl scraper, cut in the butter until the butter pieces are approximately the size of dried lentils (about 1/8 inch), working quickly to avoid melting the butter. Move the butter/flour mixture to a cool surface if you haven't already. Form a well in the mixture and pour some of the cold water into the well. Begin to combine the water into the flour/butter mixture. Be careful not to overwork the dough at this stage. Add more water as needed just until the dough comes together. Gather all the pieces of dough together, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or freeze for 20 minutes), up to overnight, to relax the gluten.

To make the filling: Mix all the filling ingredients with a wood spoon until totally blended.

To assemble the tarts: On a lightly floured surface, roll out a pastry round 1/8 inches thick. With a round pastry cutter of about 9 cm (3 ½”) in diameter, cut out 6 pastry circles. Place 3 tablespoon of the prepared mixture on each of the circles leaving ½ inch border. Fold the dough on the filling to form a tart. Brush the top with an egg wash. Cook the ‘fiadoni’ in the oven heated to 190° C/375° F until they are golden on top and cooked inside. Allow them to cool on a wire rack and then serve.