The Easter holiday has passed a few days ago and many of us will have tasted the Easter delights, be they salty or sweet. One of the typical dishes to taste in South Italy, but mainly exported all over the world, is certainly the Casatiello. Where does the Casatiello originate?
Casatiello is the dish that celebrates the resurrection of Christ. Famous are the origins of this dish which dates back to the times of Greek Naples, cooked during the spring festivals in honor of Demeter or Ceres for the Romans, which later became a symbol of Holy Easter, symbolizing the crown of thorns of Christ.
Casatiello in the Easter holidays
There are many references to this dish in Christian Easter. Its ring shape recalls the cyclical nature of the Easter resurrection, while the strips of bread placed above represent the cross on which Jesus Christ died.
Since the early 1970s it has been the unmissable dish of the Easter Monday picnic, brought by young people and adults on all outings, as a packed lunch or snack.
The Neapolitan tradition
On Holy Thursday, Neapolitan women gathered in their kitchens and set to work to create this dish with a unique flavor, it was often produced for their family and at other times it was even sold directly in homes! It is said that until the 1950s in the Neapolitan lowlands, women, producing dough in abundance, sold the excess casatielli from the window of the Neapolitan low, thus giving economic help to the family.
Why the name “Casatiello”?
The name derives directly from the Latin "caseus" which in Italian means "cheese" and identifies the enormous quantity present inside.
It is important to differentiate Casatiello from "Tortano", the same procedure but with two substantial differences: in Tortano lard is more used instead of lard and eggs are not placed on top as a decoration.
Neapolitan Casatiello recipe
Preparation time: about 40 minutes.
- 1000 gr flour 00
- 300 gr lard (in case of lack, use lard)
- 400 gr of water
- 25 gr fine salt
- 25 gr brewer's yeast
- 1500 gr cold cuts and diced cheese
- 5 gr ground black pepper
- 6 hard-boiled eggs
- 4 whole raw eggs
We put water and yeast in the bowl of our mixer. Let's dissolve the yeast with a whisk.
Then add the flour and half of the lard.
Start the planetary mixer at medium speed with the hook for hard doughs for about 15 minutes or, in the absence of the planetary mixer, knead vigorously by hand for at least 20 minutes. As soon as a homogeneous dough is formed, add salt and pepper and mix.
Let the dough rest for about 1 hour. Once the dough has grown, spread it out on a flat surface. Cut a small part that will be used for the cross-shaped strips to be placed on the eggs.
Insert the lard, cold cuts, cheeses and previously crumbled hard-boiled eggs.
Roll the stuffed dough and create a donut.
Take a 28 cm pastry mold with the "hole" and grease with the lard. Place our donut in the mold and place the 4 whole eggs vertically in spaced points of the casatiello, applying a slight pressure. Take the excess dough set aside for the strips and place them on top of the eggs forming crosses on the eggs.
Let the dough grow for about 4 hours until doubled in volume and then bake in a convection oven at 200 °, preheated for 1 hour.
Serve at room temperature accompanying it with a nice salad dressed with lemon for degreasing.