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BackstoryThis is a very rustic pie that comes out with a flavor that is not very sweet, yet still not overly savory. A kind of mincemeat feel and flavor, I guess. This recipe is an old one that I found written out in my grandmother's handwriting. She was from Northern Italy near Lucca. (Don't let the anchovies put you off. Try the recipe and half the anchovies if you are leery. You can eliminate them altogether but that will lose you the true taste-integrity of this recipe.)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 10 anchovy fillets
- 4 pounds onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 pounds fresh figs, cleaned, peeled and quartered
- 1 pound dates, cleaned, peeled and quartered
- 1 pound almonds or walnuts, chopped (optional)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- To make the dough, put the flour in a large mixing bowl and mix in salt. Make a well in the center and add the oil and eggs. Stir together slowly adding the water until a dough begins to form. Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide the dough into 2 balls, wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until ready to use. If you want to keep the dough REALLY yellow, separate the eggs and use only the yolks.
- For filling, pour the olive oil into a large pot and place it over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the anchovies and cook, stirring until they dissolve. Add the onions, nutmeg, salt and pepper, stir and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent - about 10 minutes. Add figs and dates. Continue cooking mixture over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until mixture thickens considerably. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
- On a well floured work surface, split one of the dough balls. Roll out 1 of the disks to about 1/8-inch thick circle to fit the size of your pie pan (or leave the entire dough ball intact and roll out to the rectangular shape of a sheet pan and line the pan with the dough). Spread the filling out evenly over the dough and top with nuts (optional).
- Roll out the second disk a little larger than the first one and place it over the onion mixture. Crimp the edges, brush olive oil or a beaten egg (egg wash) with a pastry brush over the pie top. Cut vent slits into the top of the pie.
- Transfer the pan into the top half of the oven and bake until the dough is golden brown, about 1 hour. Let cool, slice and serve at room temperature.