After a very busy two months of eating non stop ahead of Christmas, come January, we all want to eat more healthily and a lot more veggies! This recipe is perfect for this time of year – yummy and warm yet light, packed with green and completely veggie!
Tartas (the Argentine equivalent to pies) are extremely popular in Argentina however they are not the greasy, full of lard (yet delicious!) individual pies we eat in the UK. In Argentina, tartas are made in large pie dishes and are a healthy alternative meal. There are lots of different tarta fillings and pascualina is a an absolute classic!
As many of our dishes, it originates from Italy and it is traditionally eaten during Lent ahead of Easter. The name pascualina comes from Pascua which is Easter in Spanish. Traditionally, three cheeses would be used to represent the trinity, four boiled eggs to represent the 4 evangelists and the puff pastry would be made from 33 layers, the age of Jesus.
Although this pie is an Easter staple, in Argentina it has become a very popular dish all year around!
What will I need to make this amazing Tarta pascualina?
- Plain flour – 500g of plain flour is used to make pie pastry. If you want to use shop bought pastry I will not judge 🙂
- Vegetable oil – this is used to make the pastry. Only 100g of oil is perfect for this recipe
- Cold water – to make the pastry
- Salt – you will need a good pinch when making the short crust pastry. You will obviously also need it to season the filling
- Spinach – In Argentina, chard is usually more commonly however here it is not very easy to use, so spinach is used instead. It works beautifully! You can either use frozen spinach (defrost first) or fresh spinach which is steam cooked first for 5-6 minutes.
- Eggs: You will need lots of eggs for this recipe. You will need an egg for the pastry. You will also need a further 8 eggs for the pascualina filling and egg wash!
- Onion and garlic – This is the base of the filling and brings lots of flavours to what otherwise would be a boring filling.
- Ricotta cheese – Buy full fat ricotta so it is creamy and full of flavour!
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese – Sprinkle lots of grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese in the filling and on the top before closing the tarta!
- Nutmeg – It is definitely not used enough in British cuisine and it gives a lovely flavour to the filling.
- Pepper – You will certainly need to season the filling with salt and pepper!
This recipe will make a good sized tarta to feed 4. I used an 8in/20cm pie dish however you could use a slightly bigger one.
For the dough:
- 500g plain flour
- 200ml cold water
- 100ml vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- good pinch of salt
For the filling:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 750g cooked spinach.
- 6 boiled eggs
- 1 egg
- 2 chopped onions
- 1 chopped garlic clove
- 250g ricotta
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 50g grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
To make the dough
- Add the plain flour to a clean bowl (or clean surface) and make a good sized well in the middle. In the well add the salt, egg, water and vegetable oil.
- Start to mix the dry and wet ingredients together using a fork.
- When all the ingredients have been mixed and a dough is starting to form, tip the dough onto a clean floured surface.
- Knead the dough for a good 5-7 minutes until it is a soft and uniform dough.
- Cover the dough in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
To make the filling:
- Whilst the dough is resting, start heating the olive oil in a pan. At the same time, boil 6 eggs until they are hard boiled.
- When the oil is warm, add the 2 chopped onions and the chopped garlic clove. Cook for a few minutes until the onion is cooked and transparent
- When the onion is cooked, add the cooked spinach into the pan and mix well.
- Add the ricotta cheese and mix well until all the ricotta cheese is integrated with the spinach. Remove from the heat.
- Add the 50g of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and season with the ground nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Do this before you add the uncooked egg.
- Once you are happy with the taste of the filling, crack the raw egg onto the filling and mix well. Leave the filling to cool down.
To assemble the tarta pascualina:
- Start by oiling the pie dish well and preheating the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
- Once the dough has rested for at least 30 minutes, remove from the fridge and place into a well floured surface. Divide the dough into two parts. One larger (for the base) and one smaller (for the lid).
- Roll the larger dough bun using a rolling pin until it covers all of the pie dish and place inside the pie dish. Do not cut the excess dough yet.
- Fill the tarta with 2/3 of the spinach and ricotta filling. Place the 6 boiled eggs at equal distance from each other and press them gently inside. Pour the remaining spinach and ricotta filling over the eggs.
- Grate a bit more Parmigiano-Reggiano on top of the filling.
- Roll the smaller dough bun using a rolling pin and place on top of the pie dish.
- Seal the pie with your hands by joining both the base and the lid and cut all excess dough.
- Use a fork to make small holes on the pie lid. Beat an egg and use a brush to egg wash the pie.
- Bake for 40 minutes until the pie is golden
- Remove from the oven once fully cooked and allow it to cool before demoulding it.
- Serve with a salad and ENJOY! 🙂
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the amazing pascualina. It is an absolute favourite and I am sure you will love it too!
Buen provecho 🙂