Shadone – The Italian Easter “Pie”

26 Mar

If you know any Italians, one thing you would be sure to remember is that we are filled with so many traditions when it comes to food. We have a dish for just about any holiday on the calendar. For my family, it is the “Seven Fishes” on Christmas Eve, the Cavatelli for Christmas Day, the Ravioli on New Years Day, and for Easter we have Shadone.

Easter Shadone


Shadone is a rather reclusive dish. If you Google it, you probably will not find much information on its source or on its history. Like all dishes in Italy, they are quite regional, so my guess is that it originated somewhere in Northern Italy, possibly the region of Liguria, as this is where eggs were used most in Italian cuisine. I would say it is more of an educated guess than fact though, so don’t hold me to that!  Those of you more familiar with the Pizzagaina, may find it to be very similar to Shadone as well. I find it to be a cross between a Quiche, a pie, and a Calzone. The star of the dish is of course, centered on the symbol of Easter, the Egg!

Shadone is a decadent Easter bread filled with plenty of eggs, cheeses, and pepperoni (salami). It is a bit involved to make, and it was a bit challenging for me as I have never made it before. I seemed to spend an unusual amount of time making my iPhone dirty by trying to call my father to get his tips and tricks! One of the things I loved about this was the smell. I remember smelling the aromas of the salami as it baked in the oven! There are few aromas better to my nose than pepperoni and bread baking in the oven! We generally would eat this as a starter before our Easter brunch. But it also makes a great breakfast, so grab a nice big slice and a cappuccino and enjoy! Buona Pasqua!


Fresh from the Oven



(The DelGrosso Italian Easter “Pie”)


  • 1 1/4 lbs. Dried Salami, Sopresseta, or “Pepperoni”
  • 1 3/4 lbs. Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 lb. Queso Fresco
  • 4 Hard boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/4 lb. Butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 5 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  1. Hard boil the eggs; Place the eggs in cold water in a medium saucepan, making sure they have about 1 inch of water covering them.
  2. Put about a teaspoon of salt in the water and heat the eggs on high heat to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat to medium and continue to boil for 1 minute.
  3. After one minute, cover, and remove from the heat. Let sit for 12 minutes. Your eggs should be perfectly hard-boiled. Set aside to cool completely.
  4. Chop the salami into small cubes, I basically julienne the salami.
  5. Peel and chop the hard-boiled eggs.
  6. In a large mixing bowl combine the pepperoni, hard-boiled eggs, the cheeses. Add the lightly beaten eggs and mix well.
  7. Add some cracked black pepper and some salt. At this point I taste for seasoning, but if you are queasy about eating raw egg, you can skip this. I added about 1 teaspoon of salt and about 1 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper.
  8. Once the filling is ready, you can cover with some plastic wrap and put it in the fridge while you work on the dough.
  9. For the dough, place the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) into your Kitchen Aid mixing bowl and use the paddle to mix for about 1 minute.
  10. At this point I placed my tiles in the oven on the bottom rack and preheated the oven to 350°F.
  11. Then detach the bowl and add the cold butter in chunks. Use a pastry blender and work the butter into the flour until the mixture becomes crumbly and you no longer pull butter out of the pastry blender.
  12. Attach the mixing bowl and switch to the dough hook.
  13. Whisk the eggs and the milk together in a separate bowl and add to the dry ingredients.
  14. Mix on low-speed for about 2 minutes.
  15. Now, I did something different here, instead of continuing to knead, I took the dough out, folded it a couple of times, then placed it back into the mixing bowl. I wanted to make sure that all the flour was incorporated into the dough.
  16. Turn the mixer back on low and knead for 8 minutes.
  17. Cover it in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 10 minutes on the counter.
  18. Now, since this was my first time making this recipe, I kind of winged the rest of this:
  19.  I took a portion of dough a bit larger than an orange, flattened it with my hands, dusted it with flour  and fed it through my Kitchen Aid pasta roller on setting #1.
  20. I dusted it again with some flour and fed it through setting #2.
  21. I cut the sheet in a length about  24 inches, lay it down on a dusted countertop or pastry board. I rolled it along its width with a rolling-pin to make it a bit thinner and open it up a bit to about 8 inches.
  22. I cut the sheet in half (One for the bottom, one for the top) and placed about 1 cup of filling in the center of the bottom sheet, spread it out a bit with your spatula, but be sure to leave about an inch all the way around the sheet for you to close it up.
  23. Now place the top half of the sheet over the bottom sheet with the filling. Cut off any excess dough to even up the edges.
  24. Fold up the edges and corners, and seal with a fork in a cross-hatch pattern all around the pie (very similar to sealing ravioli).
  25. Baste with some egg wash, but do not baste the sealed edges and corners, just the top.
  26. At this point you have an option. You can slash it a couple of times across the top, or take a toothpick and poke some holes in the top gently to allow the steam to escape. I did half one way and half the other way to see what was better, I personally like the slash method!
  27. Place on parchment paper before setting on the tiles so that you do not burn the bottoms.
  28. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour.


    Halfway through baking!

  29. Place the pies on a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate or freeze what you do not eat.




27 Responses to “Shadone – The Italian Easter “Pie””

  1. Karen March 26, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    My husband makes an Easter Pie every year that we take to friends for that special day’s meal. Yours is very different…with the hard boiled eggs. Looks great.

    • cjdelgrosso March 26, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

      Thanks Karen. I am sure that every Italian family has a different version of the Easter Pie! I am sure his is great also!

  2. ChgoJohn March 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Although I’ve heard of Easter pies, my family didn’t prepare one each year — and I don’t recall any of my extended family doing it, either. As you mentioned, though, families had their own traditions and we certainly had ours. Regardless, I do love the sound of this pie. Living alone, the fact that I could freeze part of it makes the dish far more accessible. Who knows? Maybe there’s an Easter pie in my future after all.

    • cjdelgrosso March 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

      We used to make like 20 pies every year at home. We would give some away and freeze some as well. But it was such a delicious treat to me! If you do make it, I hope you like it!

  3. Anita at Hungry Couple March 29, 2012 at 12:42 am #

    I’ve never had one but it sounds delicious!

    • cjdelgrosso March 29, 2012 at 11:33 am #

      It really is, I am so happy because eating this brings back many memories for me!

  4. Kiri W. March 29, 2012 at 1:00 am #

    How interesting, I’ve never heard of this pie, even though I’ve been in Italy quite a few times. Looks tasty!

    • cjdelgrosso March 29, 2012 at 11:36 am #

      It is an obsure dish, there are many different versions, the Sicilians make something similar (I think it is called Torta di Pasqua…) there is the Pizzagaina, which I mentioned in the post. This just happens to be what my family called it. It is really good! Rich, but delicious!

  5. Cyndy April 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    Buona Pasqua! My grandparents made shadone every Easter and they mostly used dried sausage instead of salami and pepperoni. My mom still makes it every year and uses sausage. My dad dries the sausage himself. Just wondering if you’ve tried it with sausage.

    • cjdelgrosso April 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

      Happy Easter to you also! Yes, I have had Shadone made with dried sausage, salami, no meat, I even made one with spanish chorizo! But they are all great! I am a bit suprised, you are the first one who really knew what Shadone was!

  6. Robbiegel April 3, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    Wow! Your recipe is very different from my familys recipe. LoL! We use basket cheese, ham and dozens upon dozens of eggs, baked in a regular pie style crust, in 13×9 pans. Your recipe is interesting though Ill save it and make another time as i already bought lots of basket cheese! Happy Easter!

    • cjdelgrosso April 3, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

      Happy Easter to you also! Yes, we use fresh cheese as well (essentially basket cheese) and tons of eggs as well. Yours is almost more like a quiche though no?

    • Toni April 14, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

      We use basket chess and Ricotta, one with meat one with just cheese and parsley

  7. nevaldino April 4, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

    Buona Pasqua! My maternal grandmother and mother made Shadone every Easter. My sister Regina and myself continue the tradition.
    Our family recipe contains italian sausage,ham,basket cheese and provolone cheese, hard boiled eggs and raisins. We bind the ingredients together with well beaten eggs, salt & pepper, romano cheese and lots of fresh parsley. We bake it in a jelly roll pan enveloped in a savory crust with a lattice formed top.

    • cjdelgrosso April 5, 2012 at 12:04 am #

      Happy Easter to you too! I am quite sure that there are so many different recipes out there for Shadone. Yours is actually more similar to a Pizzagaina

  8. Lalli April 8, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    Delicious! I was surprised to hear that your family uses hardboiled eggs- like others below, we’ve always poured beat eggs into a standard pie dish. After cooking, they set up; it’s similar to a really dense quiche. Some folks in our family use sausage in their Shadone, but we use cubed ham. Thanks for sharing!

    • cjdelgrosso April 8, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

      Thank you! We actually use both in the filling. The reason for the hard boiled eggs is that it makes it less dense. Plus it give it a extra eggy flavor!

  9. Lynn Bretz April 12, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    I have a question, do you eat this cold or warm. I made a version of this and when I served it, I served it cold. My mother took some home and warmed it up and she said it was great. I didn’t use the hard boiled eggs and I wish I had used some sausage in it. I did a nice crust in a 9X13 pan but did not use a top crust. I am saving your recipe for next year. I like how yours looks. My Aunt also gave me a recipe for small pies that look like calzones. Her dough is only flour, oil, egg, water. It is the easiest dough I have ever worked with. I filled them with sausage, or potato, or spinach. They are really good. I’ll have to find the recipe if your interested.

    • cjdelgrosso April 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

      You can serve it warm or cold. Personally, I love it cold! But I like a lot if foods cold… My wife loves it warm. I guess it is all personal preference. What your aunt makes sounds more like empanadas. The dough is exactly what is used for empanadas! Those areDELICIOUS! I am going to make another round of shadone next weekend, but I am going to add Spanish chorizo and cilantro this time!

  10. kg July 23, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    This looks similar to the ones my large family made at Easter when I was growing up, but the filling was probably more regional as has been stated. The filling was layered with 3 or 4 kinds of sliced Italian cheeses, sliced HB egg and hard salami and pepperoni with an egg and milk mixture poured over the layers to bind it. Ours were done in a pan..(pie or cake pans lined with the dough crust and topped with same crust lid.) Always made the day before Easter. A project that involved the entire family and took hours. We made 2 or 3 dozen and did freeze it…but they were always gone by summer! It could be eaten cold or warmed…most of liked it warm with oodles of gooey cheese spilling out! My father was one of 14 and each of the households made this…plus my grandmother also had it fresh from the oven on Easter Sunday morning where we all went after mass.

    • cjdelgrosso July 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

      Thanks KG. it is quite amazing that after I posted this feature, I found out that so many Italian families made something very similar! It was not ad reclusive as I thought! Great story by the way!

  11. Roberto April 21, 2014 at 5:25 pm #


  12. Peg Bonneville March 29, 2018 at 12:48 pm #

    Is there a recipe similar to this only it is a sweet filling with raisins? My husband’s family used to call it scartzelle (spelling?). It looked similar to this but was filled with a sweet cheese mixture and had raisins.

  13. Joyce March 24, 2021 at 6:39 pm #

    Hello I have been trying to find recipe of a sweet pie that my grandmother called a shadone and have been unable to find a recipe. My aunt has tried to duplicate it and she thinks she’s close but not sure. Have you ever heard of a sweet Shadone. My grandmother used ricotta cheese, goat cheese and dry basket cheese in the filling with orange zest and vanilla. The dough was sweet. The savory one that you show looks pretty much like what she made. However, like I said it was sweet. If you have any information could you please contact me. Thank you

    • cjdelgrosso April 2, 2021 at 12:10 am #

      Hi Joyce! No, unfortunately I have not heard of a sweet version of Shadone. I would imagine the dish would almost taste like a custard, no?

      • Ray Capela April 23, 2021 at 12:51 pm #

        Wow, talk about a long running post. 9 years?. We had similar pie in our Tuscan family . Crust was on bottom only. Ricotta, ham, romano, eggs. Very firm quiche like. Love it cold.

      • cjdelgrosso April 23, 2021 at 1:46 pm #

        Hi Ray. Yes, it is! Amazingly, this post has by a wide gap, the most reads of any post I have. Most of the traffic occurs around Easter every year.

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