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I have never before shared this recipe, which has been in my family for a hundred years. My mother used to make many of these pies for Easter. Our entire apartment was filled with the smells of pastry, cheese, and Italian meats. She never wrote down the recipe. Over the years, I figured out how to make my mother's recipe. This recipe is traditionally made with basket cheese, a fresh cheese that is still available in some Italian-American neighborhoods during the holidays. Fresh mozzarella, packed in water, has a similar texture and mild flavor, and can be used instead.


Yield: 8 to 10 servings as an appetizer

For the crust: Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter, water and egg and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Roll the dough out on a floured counter into a 12-inch circle. Line a 9-inch pan with the dough and trim the excess so that the dough is flush with the rim of the pan. Cut the trimmed dough (re-rolling if necessary) into 4- to 5-inch-long strips that are about 1 inch wide. These strips of dough will be used to decorate the filled pie. Refrigerate the crust and dough strips until ready to fill the pie. Preheat the oven to 325F.

Beat the ricotta in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until it is smooth. Stir in the mozzarella and then the meats. Next stir in the eggs and then the Parmesan cheese. Add pepper to taste.

Scrape the filling into the prepared crust. Arrange several dough strips in a spoke pattern over the filling so that the strips meet in the center of the pie. Use about 6 strips to cover the top of the pie, leaving some of the filling peeking through.

Bake until the dough starts to brown around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cover the dough around the rim of the pan with aluminum foil. Brush the dough strips with the beaten egg yolk. Return the pie to the oven and continue to bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes more. Let the pie cool for about 1 hour. Serve warm or wrap the pie in plastic and refrigerate it for several days. (Bring the pie to room temperature before serving.) Cut the pie into wedges.



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