Easter Sunday: Making 'casatiello' with James Beard-nominated chef Joe Cicala

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Easter is this Sunday, and there's no doubt the holidays will look different this year but keeping traditions is so important, especially in these times.

To learn to make a classic Easter bread called "Casatiello," we turned to James Beard-nominated chef Joe Cicala, from Cicala at the Divine Lorraine.

"What we are going to make today is the grandfather of ham pie called Casatiello," said Cicala.

"We are going to start with a classic pizza dough, a Neapolitan pizza dough," he adds.

To make Cicala's classic Casatiello, follow the instructions below:

Casatiello Napoletano

875g double zero flour
500ml water

25g salt
2g fresh yeast
200g mixed salami and ham
100g mozzarella
75g ricotta
6 eggs
2 T pork lard, or vegetable shortening, or olive oil

Place the flour on a work surface and make a well in the center. Dissolve the yeast in the water and pour half of the water in the center of the well.

Mix with a fork and slowly incorporate the flour from the rim into the dough. Once there is a sludgy center resembling thick pancake batter add the salt. Mix well.

Add the remaining water and mix well until a dough forms. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, around 5 minutes. Cover with a wet cloth and let rise overnight or until doubled in size.

Cook 3 eggs to hard boil in boiling water, around 7 minutes. Let cool and peel, Dice into wedges, and cut all the salami and mozzarella into medium dice.

Roll out the dough to form a large rectangle. Layer the dough like a pizza with the meats, cheeses, and eggs. Then season with black pepper and roll up into a log.

Form into a ring by tucking one side into the other. Place the 3 uncooked eggs on top of the ring and hold them in place by taking excess dough and placing it on top of the egg resembling a cross.

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let rise 1 hour. Brush liberally with lard (or shorting/olive oil) and bake on 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool, slice and serve.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.