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Mar 24, 2009 07:33 AM

Help identifying a savory Italian Easter pastry

My mom used to make a stuffed, half-moon shaped savory pastry at Easter. Phonetically spelled, she called it "cad-ja-till". She'd complain that the dough was so stiff, she had to have my step-father knead it, and I recall that the dough was very yellow (so eggs or egg yolks). I'm pretty sure that ricotta cheese was one of the stuffing ingredients.

Any help identifying this long remembered childhood treat would be appreciated (and any pointers to where to find a recipe, as well). Thanks in advance!

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  1. Okay, I'm not sure I have the answer, but maybe I can help. I pulled out my trusty Italian dessert cookbook (bought while visiting family in Naples), and there is a photo of a bunch of cakes called "Easter Casatielli" So perhaps she is using a word that refers broadly to a group of related Easter desserts? In the recipe, the dough has 15 egg yolk in it, accounting for the yellowness. Among the varieties I am seeing are orange, lard and pepper, walnuts and cinammon, salame/ham/hardboiled eggs/cheese, honey/vanilla/orange, candied fruits

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cachetes was definitely savory and I don't remember what was in the filling except for cheese. Unfortunately, there's no one left to ask in our family....I'll check out recipes for savory casatiello (the salame/egg/cheese one) and see if I can recreate it! Thanks :-)

    2. When it comes to the names of Italian foods in the United States, there is really no predicting how to identify what exactly someone is trying to say (cf. "gabagoo" vs. capicola). Given the clues you've provided, however, your grandmother was probably using her regional word for Easter pie, something also known as torta di pasqua, pizza piena, pizza chena or pizza gain(a). Any combination of those search terms should help you on Google.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JungMann

        Those would not be half-moon shaped and doughey. They are more like cheesecakes than breads. I think this is one of the variets of Easter Breads.

      2. I think that you may be referring to a traditional Italian Easter pie called Pizza Rustica. There are many versions, ranging from just cheeses, to sausage, meats and vegetables such as spinach.
        My husband's Italian Grandmom made it each Easter, and he still dreams of it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: monavano

          monavano: bet you're right. When I first saw this thread, it made me think of "pizza gain" that a good friend's family used to make. We are both of Italian heritage, but my family never made it. Here's an article with recipes, too:

        2. It's surely casatiello, a cheese and salumi stuffed yeast ring bread, topped with hard boiled eggs, and a beloved specialty of Naple\rs. (see, or google for many images). Pizza chiena (or filled pie) is similar; pizza rustica is rather more a savory shortcrust pie, stuffed similarly and heavily with cheeses and meats. Its sweet cousin is pastiera, the lovely ricotta and wheat pie, scented with orange flower water, that is Naples' great gift to Easter. Pastiera is also called grain pie or pizza di grano in places outside Naples and Campania, like Brooklyn. Buona pasqua a tutti.

          5 Replies
          1. re: bob96

            Note, the above link somehow got the comma trapped in it, so it comes up with an error.


            1. re: Louise

              Thanks, Louise, guess I'll need to get my Italian teacher to help me translate!

              1. re: Niki in Dayton

                Here's a concise translation, at least to cover that which the photos don't convey. Filling: 400gr (a bit less than 1lb) cheese--pecorino (not the sharp romano kind), provolone, grana padano/parmigiano, emmenthal/swiss, fontina; same amount of salami, or a mix of cured products like soppressata; 5 eggs. Dough: 2.2 lbs flour (8 cups), 4 oz lard, salt, peper, 2 cubes brewers years, salt and lots of black pepper.

                Make a yeast dough, puring into the flour well the the yeast dissolved in warm water. Knead heavily for 120 minutes; the dough should be soft. Let it rise in a covered dish, doubling in volume.

                Cut cheese and meats in small cubes, mix together, with no other ingredients.

                When the dough's doubled, remove a small ball keep araprt, and roll the remainign dough into a large rectange about 1cm (no more than 1/2 inch) thick.
                Lay on the filling, leaving an empty edge. Oil a bundt pan, and lay in the rolled dough as in a circle, oiling the ends and joining them. Let this rise again, covered, in a warm spot, till doubled, maybe in 2 hours. Top the roll with 5 uncooked, unshelled eggs, and on these place crossed ribbons of dough. Bake at 325 degrees for the first 10 minutes, and then at 375 degrees until the dough's done; test with a knife, probably 45 minutes or so. Unmold. Great warm or cold.

                1. re: bob96

                  Thanks! I appreciate the translation and the link :-)

            2. re: bob96

              Oh, that looks yummy! (do remove the comma at the end of the link). I'm more familiar with the northern Pascualina savoury pie from Liguria, also extremely popular in Argentina and thereabouts (lots of people from that region in Argentina). You can google Pasqualina for the original or Pascualina for the South American version.

            3. Niki, though it seems you're all set, I just happened to catch Ray Liotta (talk about deliciousness!) making an Easter pie in the kitchen with Martha Stewart. And I never watch her, so what a treat!


              I love that he asked if she served the dish with Crestor. ;) It did, in fact, look fabulous...I may even give this a try. I wish I had a video link. I could watch Ray Liotta all day. ;)

              3 Replies
              1. re: kattyeyes

                A little more like the Pasqualina, but less complicated and fewer layers than the one in the Italian link. A lot like the Argentine kind, and simpler Ligurian ones. But I've never seen it square: I thought it was one of those foods supposed to be round (or egg-shaped) for symbolic reasons.

                1. re: lagatta

                  Can't vouch for the shape--Ray Liotta made it symbolic for me! Seriously, though, it looked delicious. I specialize in less complicated, too. ;)

                2. re: kattyeyes

                  The same episode is going to air on Fine Living tonight (March 27, 2009) at 7:00 p.m. Eastern if anyone's interested. I'm definitely taping it! :)