Italian Shadones are a traditional Easter staple in my family today. Meet the little known Shadone – a delicious mixture of Italian meats and cheeses nestled inside a golden, flaky pastry crust – to die for! Such a treat!
Italian meat pies freshly baked
The exact version varies from family to family. Sometime regarded as a super, secret recipe, these treasures are shared with family and friends around the Easter holiday table alongside a wonderful sweet ricotta cheese pie, and an orange flavored sweet dough bread shaped like an Easter basket. My ex-Mother-In-Law ties a $5 dollar bill to the bread basket for the kids. The stuff of memories.
I didn’t grow up in a family that had many holiday food traditions (except for Mom’s Christmas 5 min. can’t fail fudge – which kind of says it all – hugs Mom) so as an avid cook with children I have come to appreciate the many ways that food can connect us together and add meaning to our lives.
The following recipe is from my 90 year old amazing ex-Mother-In-Law, Betty. Over the years I have come to call my cooking lessons – “Baking with Betty” and they are wonderful times that we have spent together with a dash of this, a pinch of that and instructions to mix it until it “squeaks.” Sharing with you today – Betty B’s recipe for Italian Shadone Meat Pies along with lots of photos of the baking process. Warning – it makes a big batch. Enjoy!
1Lb. Italian Coppola Ham
1Lb. Jarlsberg Swiss Cheese
1Lb. Fresh Basket Cheese
1Lb. Dry Ricotta Cheese
6 Eggs, beaten
Dice the meats into very small pieces and place in a large bowl. Dice the Swiss cheese into small pieces and add to the meat mixture. Drain all water off of the basket and ricotta cheeses. Use a ricer if possible to break up basket and ricotta cheese and add to the meat mixture. Add 6 well beaten eggs and mix to completely distribute. Set aside.
Crust – one batch
(You will need approximately 2.5-3 batches of crust for the 6 pounds of filling shown above)
6 C. Flour – unbleached
2 C. Shortening
½ Cold Water
Cut flour and shortening together. Make a well and add beaten eggs and water. Bring together to make dough. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.
Roll out dough in small amounts and cut approximately a 6-6-1/4 inch diameter circle from the dough. Place a ¼ c. of the filling mixture on one half of the circle of dough. Use a slight amount of water around the edge of the dough circle to ensure a good seal. Fold over half of the dough and use fork tines to crimp and seal the edges. Place the pies on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Beat one egg with 1Tbs. of milk. Brush pies with egg wash.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Place on cooling rack. Slice when cool to serve. Makes approximately 48 pies.
Store pies individually wrapped in plastic wrap to preserve freshness. Should be refrigerated. Pies freeze well.
Shopping for ingredients at our local Italian market
Remove casing from pepperoni – sorry looks a bit yucky
Fine dice for all ingredients
Adding basket and ricotta cheese – through ricer
Thoroughly mix filling with eggs
Assemble ingredients for the pastry dough
Cut in shortening with flour
6″ diameter circle for dough
Rolling out the dough
Cut out the pastry round
1/4 c. filling per pastry round
Distribute filling on half of the pastry round
Moisten edges with water and seal with fork
Bake 22 minutes at 375 degrees
Italian meat pies freshly baked – cool then slice – YUM!
Hope you have enjoyed seeing the process. We love them…and I don’t really eat meat but…I have to cheat with these. Happy baking! Happy Easter!