Torta Rustica

Torta Rustica

From Scratch: A springtime full of eggs

You can make the recipe below a day ahead and serve it at room temperature, or reheat it in the oven.

I always associate springtime with eggs. Growing up, we would visit my grandfather’s farm and see all the eggs then return a couple weeks later to play with the chicks.

Being Ukrainian, I was taught to make pysanka by my Baba, Mom and aunt, who had a talent for those straight lines and steady hands.

After all those years of being taught, I’m still working on it – it is a talent!  At Eastertime, we would dye our eggs and put them in our basket to enjoy over breakfast; mine cut in four with a touch of salt to savour the taste. Now, I love getting farm eggs with shells in delicate colours of green, blue and brown, some even speckled. They are a delight for my family on Easter morning.

Easter is quite often a busy time for many of us committed to feeding our loved ones. Don’t make this stressful — do a brunch after the kids are done with their egg hunt.

You can make the recipe below a day ahead and serve it at room temperature, or reheat it in the oven. As a suggestion, serve it with a fresh fruit salad, mimosas all around, toasted brioche & jam.


Torta Rustica*

Serves 8

This is a hearty, savoury torta with a cornmeal pastry in a springform pan. Layers of cheese, chopped spinach, prosciutto, and roasted red peppers fill the pie. A top crust is added, and then the torta is baked until it’s golden.

It sounds harder to make than it is, and is a real show-stopper!



2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter, diced

2 eggs

4 tablespoons cold water

1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

4 ounces feta cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg



1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 pound ham slices or prosciutto

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped

spinach, thawed and drained

1/2 (16 ounce) jar roasted red peppers,

drained and patted dry

1 egg

Mix flour, cornmeal, and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat 2 eggs with 3 tablespoons cold water; stir into flour mixture until dough holds together. Add another tablespoon of water if needed. Shape two-thirds of the dough into flattened round; repeat with remaining third. Wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or until firm enough to roll.

In another bowl, combine ricotta cheese, crumbled feta, Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, parsley, basil, and oregano until well-blended.

Have an 8- or 9-inch springform pan ready. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger portion of dough into a 15-inch diameter circle. Carefully place in ungreased pan; press lightly against bottom and sides. Trim overhanging dough to 1 inch from pan rim.

Scatter half of the mozzarella over the bottom of the crust. Next, arrange half the ham slices in an even layer. Spread with ricotta cheese mixture, then sprinkle with spinach. Cover with the remaining ham slices. Press down gently to pack layers. Add red peppers in a single layer, and top with the remaining mozzarella. Press down again.

Roll out remaining dough to 8- or 9-inch circle. Place over filling to cover. Moisten edges, and seal crusts together. Crimp or flute edges. Crust should not extend above pan rim. Beat remaining egg, and brush over the crust. Cut several small vents in top crust for steam to escape.

Bake at 375 F (190 C) for 1 hour, or until crust is deep golden brown and pulls away from sides. Cool in pan on wire rack 45 minutes. Remove pan sides; cool completely. Cut into 12 wedges. Serve at room temperature. (*This recipe is copyrighted with the All Recipes website).

This time of year makes my heart leap — the grass is greening, the birds are chirping, there is hotter, longer sunshine and for whatever reason, peoples’ moods appear brighter and more pleasant. Enjoy this spring and get going on that garden planning!

Lara McCormack is one of the owners of From Scratch – A Mountain Kitchen in Fairmont Hot Springs where one can savour fabulous seasonal food, sip from a selection of beverages including B.C. wines and enjoy the views of our gorgeous valley landscape

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