Easter Traditional Food in Sicily: Pastieri recipe

Easter is a very special time in Sicily, a wonderful blend of religious celebrations and traditions. And food, as usual in Sicily, plays a central role even during these festivities with: "nfigghiulati" (ricotta's pies), "cassateddi", marzipan decorated lambs, "palummeddi", "sciuscieddu", "'mpanati ri agneddu", and many, many more.
Here you find a recipe for one of my favourite Easter Sicilian delicacies "Pastieri", typical of the Modica and Ragusa area.
We usally gather together to make them for the whole family on Easter Saturday and have them after midnight, as soon as we come back from church.
I also have them on Easter Sunday for breakfast and, again, at lunch time, and again for "merenda" and again, and again until they are gone. Everybody else keeps laughing at me, but I do not care. I really like my Easter pastieri!

This is my mother's recipe, which is a lighter version of my grandmother's one which included "strutto", pork fat, in the dough preparation. The other variation in this recipe regards the filling, which traditionally included about 40% minced lamb offal. If you do like offal, try using 400gr minced lamb offal mixed to 600gr lamb meat in the following recipe. Pastieri are also great to prepare with the youngsters, so if you have children in the house involve them in the fun!

Pastieri di Pasqua: Ricetta di mamma Carla.


For the dough:

1 kg semolina flour
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
15 gr brewer's yeast

For the filling:

1 kg lamb mince
200 gr grated cheese (caciocavallo ragusano)
5 eggs
4 stalks fresh garlic
1 bunch of parsley
ground black pepper

Prepare the dough mixing all ingredients and following the instructions you will find on the video below, set aside to rest.
In the meantime, prepare the meat. Place the lamb mince in a non-stick pan and cover with a lid. The meat should cook in its own juice, add little water only if necessary. After about 10 minutes, remove the lid and let the juice evaporate, mixing every so often with a wooden spoon. Let the meat cool down, then mix in the other ingredients, the grated cheese, the fresh garlic and the parsley finely chopped, the beaten eggs and black pepper. This is one of the few recipes where I like to be generous with black pepper.

Then roll the dough out, cut into 10-12 cm circles and, with the help of a piece of dough previously rolled into a long thin cylinder, close and place onto a tray.
Brush with egg wash and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180° until golden brown. Serve on their own as a piatto unico with a nice salad or as antipasti.
They are fantastic for a wonderful spring picnic on the beach or in the countryside.

Do not miss our video below for the details.

Written on
March 16, 2010