This recipe for Radicchio Pie comes from Jennifer McLagan’s new book Bitter.
I was wandering around Turin looking for a lunch spot, which can be a bit of a task for me: I had my heart set on eating cardoons, as it was peak season. The first place had them on the menu, but it was empty; the second one had no cardoons, and the third was closed. By the time I found my way back to the first one, it was full. So I found a seat in the window at my second choice and settled on a radicchio strudel. It was delicious: radicchio seasoned with prosciutto, mixed with Fontina cheese, and baked in a regular pastry, not the filo that is usually associated with strudel. I was almost happy that the restaurant serving cardoons had been full.
2 1⁄2 ounces / 75 g fatty prosciutto or pancetta, diced
14 ounces / 400 gradicchio
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 1⁄2 ounces / 125 g Fontina cheese
Lard Pastry (below)
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
Place the diced prosciutto in a large frying pan over low heat and cook slowly until the fat is rendered and the prosciutto is just beginning to crisp.
Meanwhile cut the radicchio and leek in half lengthwise, rinse well, and then slice into ½-inch / 1-cm strips, using just the white and pale green of the leek. Add the sliced radicchio and leek to the pan and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until the radicchio turns brown and wilts slightly. Remove from the heat and add the vinegar, ginger, and salt, and season with pepper. Let cool.
Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the cheese into ¼-inch / 6-mm dice and then add to the radicchio mixture. Divide the pastry in half. Roll one piece into a 13 by 8-inch / 33 by 20-cm rectangle. Place the pastry on the baking sheet. Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly, keeping them within the egg-washed border, then mound the radicchio mixture on top making sure the cheese is evenly distributed. Roll the second piece of pastry into a slightly bigger rectangle, about 14 by 9 inches / 36 by 23 cm. Place the second rectangle over the top of the radicchio mixture and press the pastry edges together. Trim the edges, then use a fork to seal them well.
Brush the pie with the remaining egg wash and cut 5 or 6 diagonal slits in the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is beginning to bubble up through the slits. Transfer to a cooling rack and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Makes enough for 1 radicchio pie (opposite ) or a double-crust 9 to 9½-inch / 23 to 24-cm pie
2 cups / 8¾ ounces / 250 g flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2⁄3 cup / 41⁄2 ounces / 125 g chilled lard (preferably leaf lard), diced
1⁄3 cup / 75 ml ice-cold water
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the lard and pulse until it is reduced to pea-size pieces, about 15 seconds. Turn the mixture into a bowl.
Pour the water over the flour and lard mixture and mix with a fork. Squeeze a bit of the mixture between your fingers. If it holds together, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface; if not, add another couple of teaspoons of ice water and test again. Gently knead the dough into a ball and flatten slightly. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using. This pastry keeps for several days refrigerated and it freezes well.