Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

italian easter pie (pizza chena)

(11 ratings)
Blue Ribbon Recipe by
Joanne Bellezza-Loughlin
Bridgewater, NJ

Pizza Chena (made with Italian meats, cheeses, and eggs) is a staple on every Italian Easter dinner table. My mom or an aunt would make it every year. I never appreciated it as a child but I love it now. Everyone has their own recipe and everyone thinks theirs is the best. So I collected recipes from relatives and friends and took the best of all their recipes to come up with my own. Now, mine is the best!!! LOL

Blue Ribbon Recipe

An Italian recipe that's made with love and takes a little longer to prepare, but the end result is worth every minute. The outcome is a beautiful and delicious Pizza Chena. This looks intimidating but it's not hard to make. We opted to make the traditional dough when testing. It's similar in texture and taste to pizza dough and holds in all of the Italian meats and cheeses. Inside of the Easter pie has a savory and rich flavor that's mellowed slightly by the crust. A fabulous dish with a beautiful presentation that will wow everyone. Serve slices with a little bit of marinara for dipping... yum! Also, this is even better the second day.

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
(11 ratings)
yield serving(s)
prep time 2 Hr
cook time 1 Hr 15 Min
method Bake

Ingredients For italian easter pie (pizza chena)

  • ok, I cannot tell a lie...I used Pillsbury ready pie crust to save time. But by all means feel free to make your own.
  • 1
    packet of active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp
  • 1 tsp
  • 2 c
    warm water
  • 5-6 c
    all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp
    olive oil
  • 1/2 lb
    sweet Italian sausage (or hot if you prefer) removed from the casing
  • 3
    eggs, beaten
  • 2
    eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
  • 1 lb
    ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 lb
    fresh mozzarella, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 c
    grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1/4 lb
    prosciutto (or American ham if you prefer), sliced and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 lb
    genoa salami, sliced and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 lb
    pepperoni, sliced and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • parsley flakes and pepper, to taste (you can add a little salt, to taste but remember the meats are salty so don't add too much salt)
  • 1
    egg yolk for egg wash

How To Make italian easter pie (pizza chena)

  • Water, yeast, sugar, and salt in a bowl.
    For the dough... In a large bowl, dissolve in two cups of water, yeast, sugar, and salt and gently blend.
  • Adding flour and olive oil to the dissolved yeast.
    After the yeast has dissolved, add 5 cups of flour and 2 Tbsp olive oil. Blend with a spoon until the dough starts to form.
  • Kneading dough on a floured surface.
    Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead for about 5 to 10 minutes. (Add additional flour if the dough is too sticky.)
  • Dough rising in a bowl covered with a towel.
    Place dough in a large bowl and coat with a little olive oil. Cover and let rise for 2 hours.
  • Browning sausage.
    While the dough is rising, start to prep your ingredients by cutting meats and grating cheese. Brown the sausage breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon.
  • Mixing together beaten eggs, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, chopped eggs, meats, and seasonings.
    In a large bowl, add the three beaten eggs, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, chopped eggs, meats, and seasonings. Mix well and set aside.
  • Dividing the dough into two pieces.
    After the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it into two pieces.
  • Rolling out one piece of the dough.
    Roll out one piece of the dough.
  • Dough placed in a springform pan.
    Place the rolled out dough in a 10-inch springform pan sprayed with Pam. The dough should hang about an inch over the sides.
  • Filling poured over the dough.
    Pour the filling into the pastry crust - mine filled to about an inch from the top.
  • Second piece of dough placed over the filling.
    Roll the second piece of the dough and place the round crust on top of the filling. Cutaway any excess dough.
  • Crimping the edges closed.
    Crimp around the edges - I used a fork. Cut two strips of leftover dough to make a cross. Place the dough cross on top of the Pizza Chena. Cut slits in dough to vent.
  • Brushing egg wash over the Pizza Chena.
    Beat the egg yolk and brush on top of the Pizza Chena.
  • Pizza Chena baking in the oven.
    Bake at 350 degrees for 60 - 75 minutes.
  • Pizza Chena baked until golden brown.
    Bake until golden brown and let cool. NOTE: Pizza Chena is best when made a day or two ahead of time. Let it cool and then store in the fridge. Bring to room temp before serving!