Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Neapolitan Rustico (salty cake)

This salty cake is a classic of the Neapolitan savoury pastry making, it has a main feature that makes it unique and is of being a salty cake though having a sweet short pastry shell-like. Basically it is a pie (or a mince pie, it can also be realized as individual sizes) half sweet and half salty, the shell-like is made of a sweet short pastry, some people use to prepare it with lard instead of the butter so that it would be more brittle, while it's filled with ricotta cheese, mozzarella (cheese) and cold cuts.
 In Neapolitan tradition this salty cake is very popular during the Easter holidays, after the Paschal Vigil of Holy Saturday they are used to meet to "break the glory, " that is to break the paschal fast time by eating all sorts of delicacy. However, you can find it all year round in Neapolitan pastry shops and rotisseries, and it can be eaten in the street with only the help of a napkin. Also it could be a very good meal substitute during lunch break.
 And how can you enjoy it if you are away from Naples? It's easy! We'll make it? ...
And I'll have to thank my little sister for this...


 For the short pastry:
 Flour 270 g (2 and 1/4 cups)
 Margarine 100 g (1/3 cup and 1 tbsp)
 1 egg and 1 egg yolk (or two small eggs)
 Sugar 100 g (1/2 cup)
 a pinch of baking powder

 For the filling:
 Ricotta cheese 400 g (14 oz)
 Fior di latte (mozzarella cheese) 200 g (7 oz)
 3 eggs + 1 egg white
 Parmesan cheese 75 g (3 oz)
 Cooked ham 80 g (3 oz)
 Salami 80 g (3 oz)
 a pinch of salt and pepper

 To brush before baking:
 1 egg yolk with a drop of milk

Prepare the pastry: Sift the flour and blend it with the sugar and a pinch of baking powder, then put it on a pastry board and make a weel, put in the center the egg, the egg yolk and the margarine, quickly knead everything, make a ball and wrap it in a clingfilm and let it settle in the refrigerator for about an hour.
Meanwhile cut up the salami, the cooked ham and the mozzarella cheese. Put the ricotta cheese in a mixing bowl and mash it with a fork, add the eggs, the egg white, the grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, thoroughly mix everything  and then add the cold cuts and the mozzarella cheese, mix everything over again until it's smooth.
Take the short pastry out from the refrigerator, cut a little more than half of it and, with the aid of a rolling pin, roll it out on a baking paper then place it on a baking tray in order to cover the edges, pour the previously prepared filling and spread it out evenly (picture 1). Roll out the remaining pastry and place it on top of the pie and let fall the edge on it. Riddle the surface with holes, brush it with the egg yolk and milk mixture (picture 2) and bake in oven at 160° C (325° F) for 30 minutes, take it out of the oven when it is evenly golden!
Let it cool and serve it cold.

P.s. This salty cake can also be prepared as mince pies but you may need the special oval cake moulds, in this case follow these steps:
Grease the moulds with butter and flour, line it with the pastry, with the aid of a fork, riddle the bottom with holes, then pour the filling and cover with other pastry, riddle the surface with holes and brush with the egg yolk and milk mixture then bake at 160° C (325° F) for 30 minutes.
Bon appetit!

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