Italian Easter Pie (Pizza Chena)



  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 c warm water
  • 5-6 c 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 priscuitto (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


1. If making the dough…….

2. In a large bowl, dissolve in two cups of water, yeast, sugar, and salt, and gently blend. 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 and then transfer to a floured surface and knead for about 5 to 10 minutes. (Add additional flour if the dough is too sticky.) Place dough in a large bowl and coat with a little olive oil. Cover and let rise for 2 hours. After the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it into two pieces. Roll out each piece and place one piece in a 10-inch springform pan sprayed with Pam. The dough should hang about an inch over the sides.

3. Now on to the filling…….

4. Brown the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon.

5. In a large bowl, add the three beaten eggs, Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan, chopped eggs, meats, and seasonings. Mix well.

6. Pour the filling into the pastry crust – mine filled to about an inch from the top. Cut the top crust to fit the round pan. Place the round crust on top of the filling. 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.

7. Beat the egg yolk and brush on top of the Pizza Chena.

8. TIP: If using All Ready Pie Crust – You will need to roll out the bottom crust to make it large enough to fit in the springform pan. Spray the pan with Pam and then carefully place the crust in the pan – the sides may hangover just a little.

9. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 – 75 minutes or until top is golden brown.

10. NOTE: Pizza Chena is best when made a day or two ahead of time. Let it cool and then store in frig. Bring to room temp before serving!

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