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X Italian Breads and Pizzas
pizza di pasqua Umbria
Pizza di Pasqua (Savory Italian bread flavored with Pecorino and Parmesan cheese)
Originated from: Umbria, Italy
Occasion: Easter
Contributed by: Adapted from an Italian cookbook published in the 1960s

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1 standard Italian bread dough (1/2 pound)

Pizza di Pasqua (additions)
1 1/2 cups flour
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2/3 cup Pecorino cheese, grated

Equipment needed
Tall baking pan


Allow the bread dough to rest in a warm room until it doubles in volume (about 3 hours).

When the bread dough is ready to be used, prepare the additions.

Using an electric beater, beat the eggs.

Add the olive oil to the eggs. Mix well.

Add the flour and mix well.

Add the cheeses.

Incorporate the egg-cheese-flour mixture to the risen dough, and work into a malleable dough. Using a Kitchen Aid or similar device knead for about 10 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball.

Place the dough in a large well-greased container, cover and then allow it to rest in a warm room for about 3 hours (The dough should increase in volume).

Remove the dough from the container and knead for 2 or 3 minutes.

Grease a large tall baking pan (the one in which the dough will be baked in) and place the dough in it. Cover. Allow the dough to rest for about 2 hours (The dough should increase in volume).

Bake in a pre-heated 375 degrees F oven until it is golden brown -- anywhere from 40 to 50 minutes.


Even though this is called a pizza, it's Not a pizza (as North Americans have come to know the word), and even though it looks like your average pannetone, it's definitely Not one. This is a cheese-flavored yeast dough bread. It is not easy to make, and it is not cheap either, which might be a good reason not to try out this recipe. But if one has a fondness for this style of savory bread, one can simplify the recipe by using store-bought pizza dough (I did). Using a Kitchen Aid mixer also helps. What attracted me to this recipe is the fact that it is a traditional food and that this traditional food was (and still is) served at Easter. I tried out the recipe thinking I could never get it right and found to my amazement that somehow the ingredients did manage to blend in together, the resulting dough did rise twice, and then when cooked, it looked as it was supposed to -- tall and elegant. I may have used a pan a bit smaller than I should have (9 1/2 inches wide, 5 inches high) still the end result was quite good. As I do not like cheese-flavored breads, it's not a recipe I would ever do again, but for those who like such treats, this is definitely a recipe worth trying. Comments and photo: Mary Melfi.

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