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Enter at your own risk an eclectic journey through a cluttered mind, streaming consciousness, not to be understood by all, but freed by me to you...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Padre Pio, Santa Pasqua Recipes 2007

Padre Pio is held in highest esteem by many Italians, especially now that he is a saint. He has the stigmata, the wounds of Christ. It surprised me to find this statue of him at the San Ines Mission in Solvang, California. He really travels! Some believe that he is a bilocutionary, that he can be in two places at the same time. I know that he was at the Cathedral of Saint Paul, Minnesota, when I was very young, probably about 1954. We have a rosary from that pilgrimage with him on it. This is Holy Week. My maternal grandfather was named Pasquale because he was born near Easter. We make special Easter recipes at this time of year: Easter bread and Easter pizza. Pizza Pasquale Rustica was a favorite. Grandpa Salvatore Ranelli made an open face, deep dish pizza in a 11" x 13" pan. The crude crust was made with eggs, flour and shortening. The filling included 2 lbs farmer's cheese, Parmesan or Romano, grated; 1 lb. Mozzarella cheese, shredded; 8 eggs, 1/2 cup diced pepperoni, 1/2 lb. cooked Italian sausage, salt, and freshly ground pepper. It was baked and served cold. Another recipe is for Easter bread: Easter Bread: 10 cups of flour, 1 dozen eggs, 1 cup margarine, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, 2 Tbsp salt, 1 yeast cake, lemon or orange rind. Knead, let rise and just before baking, paint with pastry brush with egg yolk and water. Scotzal is an Easter family favorite. Filling for Scotzal: 1/2 brick of cheese, dry grated (2 lb); 7 eggs; 1 lb dark raisins; 1 cup sugar; 1 tsp baking soda; 1/2 tsp mace; 1/2 tsp nutmeg; pinch of black pepper and pinch of salt. Mix together and let stand in refrigerator over night if you want to. It lets the raisins plump up, but it's not necessary. Sour Dough Crust: 5 1/2 cups flour; 1 1/2 tsp soda; 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar; 1 1/2 tsp salt; 1/4 tsp nutmeg; 3 eggs; 1 cup sugar, 1 cup sour milk, use vinegar; 3 Tbsp melted shortening; Mix dry ingredients, beat eggs & sugar together, add milk & shortening, add to dry ingredients and knead. Scotzal looks like a filled, giant, rectangular ravioli with crust pressed together on three sides. The crust for scotzal is a sour dough, and it, too, is painted with egg yolk. This sour dough was also used for a braided pastry that had raw eggs placed in it that would bake along with the dough. Boys would get bird shaped baskets and girls would get a doll with 2 eggs, placed strategically for breasts. Cloves were used for eyes, and a little red food coloring for the mouth. The egg yolk would yield a beautiful glaze. We would make lots of small chicks and rabbits with cookie cutters. My all time Easter favorite is Ricotta Pizza Pie and the crust for ricotta pie is: 2 cups flour; 12 Tbsp butter or shortening; 4 egg yolks; 1/4 cup sugar; 3 Tbsp dry Marsala wine; 1 tsp freshly grated lemon peel; 1/2 tsp. salt Refrigerate for awhile after mixing. The filling includes 5 cups ricotta cheese (2 1/12 lb); 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cooked rice, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp freshly grated orange or lemon peel, 4 egg yolks and 2 egg whites. This also was an open face pie, made only at Easter. I wonder if my Italian relatives recognize these recipes? Do they still make them? What are their recipes? How are they different? What do they call "scotzal?" I know these are from the Abruzzo region.

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