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Shadone – The Italian Easter “Pie”

26 Mar Easter Shadone

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.




Chocolate and Chile Ancho Bread

13 Feb Chocolate and Chile Ancho Bread with Fresh Raspberry Preserves

With Valentines Day just a day away, forget about buying chocolates for your significant other! Make something for them!!! This weeks inspiration comes from a deep, dark part of my heart. My chocolate heart that is!

My mother bought me a book for my birthday, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, and leafing through the pages my eyes immediately locked upon a recipe for chocolate bread.  As I began to read the details about making this bread, I could not help but think what an addition chile would be to this recipe! Chocolate and chiles are such a flavor affinity to me! So, once the weekend came, it was time to itch my baking scratch! You will notice the recipe is by volume rather than by weight. This is a bit inconsistent in my opinion, but I did not take the time to convert and test the recipe by weight. I was too anxious to eat this creation!

Chocolate and Chile Ancho Bread

Chocolate and Chile Ancho Bread

The instructions called to place the yeast, water, honey, and salt in a container first, then add the dry ingredients. Having a little bit of bread making under my belt by now, I decided to alter this and I proofed the yeast in about a ½ cup of warm water (about  105°F) with a teaspoon of honey. While the yeast was activating, I set to making the ganache. I used a double boiler and combined the butter and the chocolate. Once the chocolate and butter were completely melted, I added the ancho chile powder and the cayenne pepper and whisked to incorporate. I set the ganache aside to cool a bit. Once it was cool, I then mixed all the wet ingredients together, added them to the dry ingredients and I mixed this in my Kitchen Aid mixer for about 2 minutes. I let the dough rest, covered, for about 20 minutes, and finally added the salt and mixed again for about 2 more minutes (autolyse!). I then let the dough proof for about 2 hours. After the initial proof, the dough is ready to be formed, so I divided it in 2 equal portions of approximately 1.5 lbs. each and formed each into a boule. You will notice that this dough is quite sitcky and difficult to work with, I believe that this is due to the fact that the dough is made to be used over the course of a week, from your refrigerator (which makes it easier to handle). In order to form this dough correctly, use a liberal amount of flour on your work surface and dust the dough with a good handful of flour as your forming your boule. Let the boules rise once again for about 1 hour, then pop them in your oven for about 30 minutes. While the bread is in the oven, you can set about making the preserves!

Chocolate and Chile Ancho Bread

Fresh from the oven!

The raspberry preserves are an astonishingly simple and delicious addition to this bread. Simply bring your raspberries to a quick boil for about 1 minute, mash them up with a potato masher, then add your sugar. These preserves require no pectin whatsoever. I like this recipe because using pectin requires adding more sugar, which dilutes the natural flavor of the fruit. The raspberries have enough natural pectin to do the trick. Just continue to cook the raspberries for about 5 minutes, stirring almost constantly. Then just ladle the mixture into your prepared canning jars. As the mixture cools it will form that gel that you are looking for.

Take the chocolate bread and spread a nice size dollop of raspberry jelly on a slice. I just love the deep bittersweet flavor of the chocolate and the subtle notes of sweetness in the honey, then the biting finish of the chile. The sweet raspberry preserves are a wonderful counterpoint to the bittersweet chocolate. Forget heaven, chocolate and chiles are a match made for my kitchen!

Chocolate and Chile Ancho Bread

( Adapted from The Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day )

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao)
  • 1 tablespoon Ancho Chile powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 ¾ cup lukewarm water (100°-105°F)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 large egg for the egg wash
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 5 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli )
  • 5 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (Ghirardelli 60% Cacao)
  1. Proof the yeast by taking it and mixing it with about ½ cup of the warm water and 1 teaspoon of the honey in a cup or a bowl. Allow it to sit in a warm place. Once it doubles in volume it is ready to use.
  2. While the yeast is proofing, make the ganache by melting the butter and the 4 ounces of chocolate in a double boiler. Once they are melted , add the chile powder and the cayenne pepper mixture and blend well with a whisk. Set aside to cool.
  3. Take the 5 ounces of chocolate and pulse until finely chopped in a food processor.
  4. Mix the proofed yeast, the rest of the water, and the honey with the eggs in your mixing bowl.
  5. Add the flour, the chopped chocolate, the ganache, and the cocoa powder and mix for 2 minutes using the dough hook attachment.
  6. Cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes, add the salt and mix once again for 2 minutes using the dough hook.

    Chocolate and Chile Ancho Dough

    Prior to the 2 hour proof.

  8. Cover and allow to proof for about 2 hours.
  9. Dust your work surface liberally with flour then take the dough from the mixing bowl. Dust dough liberally with flour and divide into 2 1 ½ lb. portions.
  10. Work each into a boule by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, turning the dough in quarter turns as you go.
  11. Place on parchment paper and let the boules rise for 1 hour.

    Chocolate and Chile Ancho Boule

    A formed boule rising once again!

  12. Preheat your oven with the baking tiles or baking stones to 350F. Allow a minimum of 30 miuntes for the tiles to come to temperature.
  13. Simply take one egg and whisk it and then brush the surface of each boule with the egg wash.
  14. Slash the boules in a cross pattern, a tic-tac-toe pattern, or 3 vertical slashes.
  15. Bake the boules in the oven for about 15 minutes, then rotate to ensure even baking.
  16. Bake for a final 15-20 minutes.
  17. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. You can try and dust the boule with some powdered sugar if you want. I tried it on one boule!
Chocolate and Chile Ancho Bread

Dusted with some DelGrosso dust

Fresh Raspberry Preserves

  • 4 cups raspberries
  • 4 cups sugar
  1. Bring the raspberries to a hard boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil for 1 minute
  2. Add the sugar and bring to a boil once again.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring almost constantly.
  4. Remove from heat and ladle into prepared canning jars or if you plan on using it right away, just some airtight sterilized glass containers!

    Chocolate and Chile Ancho Bread with Fresh Raspberry Preserves

    Chocolate and Chile Ancho Bread with Fresh Raspberry Preserves

French Bread

24 Jan Pain Sur Poolish

Adding to my ever-increasing bread baking repertoire, this weekend I decided to try my hand at a French style loaf.  So again I consulted my sensei, Barry Harmon over at Artisan Bread Baking, prepared my oven for stone baking, and set about my craft.

I prepared the poolish on Friday night in a Tupperware container, covered it, and placed it inside my oven (oven not on!) so there would be no drafts to stunt the  fermentation. I found that doing this allowed me to get maximum growth during these winter months (my house is quite drafty!).  By Saturday morning, I had a nice pre-ferment to work with! The mixing, kneading, proofing, and folding went along as planned, it is more a matter of patience now than technique, I have a hard time waiting the necessary time for resting and proofing! I want to jump to the next step that I often find myself pacing back and forth to the kitchen!

I had no idea how to shape my loaf once I had the dough divided, so I happened upon a great instruction for shaping dough into a batard (thank God for the Internet) , then I simply stretched out the batard a bit to about 14 inches in length and let it rise again for another 2 hours. The baking is by far, my favorite part. I just love the smells wafting through my kitchen.  To me, nothing is more inviting to a home then the smell of fresh bread! This bread was a great addition to the Potato and Leek soup I made for Sunday dinner!

The Crumb

Take a look at the crumb!

Pain sur Poolish


  • 300 g. Bread Flour
  • 300 g. Water
  • 5 ml (1 tsp)  Dry Active Yeast


  • All the Poolish from above
  • 690 g. bread flour
  • 300 g. Water
  • 24 g Salt
  • 5 gr (2 tsp) Dry Active Yeast
  1. Make the poolish the night before, cover the container and let it sit on the counter overnight.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together with the dough hook for 2 minutes. Then let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

    First Mix

    First mix

  3. Mix again with the dough hook for 15 minutes.


    After Kneading

  4. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let ferment for 1 1/2 hours.

    Final Fermentation

    After Final fermentation

  5. Fold the dough (I used a Hammelman fold), then back in the bowl  to ferment for 30 minutes more.
  6. Divide the dough into two equal pieces (mine were about 680 grams each). Let the pieces rest, covered, on the counter for 10 minutes.


    More or less divided!

  7. Shape each piece into a batard.


    The Batard

  8. Let the loaves relax on a well-floured surface and covered by a damp towel, for 15 minutes.
  9. Gently stretch the loaves to a length of between 12 and 14 inches.
  10. Place the loaves on parchment paper and let them rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. They should double.
  11. Slash the loaves along the length of the dough right down the center.

    The Slash

    Slashed down the center

  12. Heat the oven to 475F / 245C. Place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven for steam and place the baking stone or tiles on the oven rack. (Let it preheat for about 45 minutes while your loaves are rising to get the stones to temperature)
  13. Bake, for 15 minutes, then turn the loaves and bake until done (about 30 minutes) or to an internal temperature of 200F / 93C  (the loaves will sound hollow when rapped on the bottom).

    After 15 minutes of baking

    After 15 minutes of baking

  14. Let the loaves cool on a wire rack.


    Cooling on the rack

Pain Sur Poolish

Final Product - Pain Sur Poolish