Pastieri di Pasqua – Easter Lamb Pies

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SERVES 8

Still today, the pastieri are generally prepared in abundance on Holy Saturday, and if lucky enough to have leftovers, a perfect snack during an easter Monday stroll.

Also known as Mpanati ri agneddu, L’mpanti or Pastieri Siciliani these delicious lamb pies are typically made in Sicily for Easter Saturday. It is believed that it was during the Spanish occupation the Mpanati/L’mpanti or Impanata were introduced to the town of Siracusa, reminiscent of their own Impanada.

Pastieri, can be discovered all over Sicily throughout the year, often found with a different name in most towns. They can be filled with pork and beef but the original recipe baked during Easter time is more commonly known to be made with Lamb.

The Pastieri can be made with a cooked or uncooked filling. We prefer to use an uncooked filling as it is easier to mould and shape the pies. Traditionally, lamb inners were used to create the filling which were cooked in milk to tenderise and soften the tough texture. To make the filling go further, cooked rice or mollica (day old bread) would be added to the lamb filling also.

There are many dough recipes used, ones with lard and ones with eggs incorporated to enrich the dough. If lard is not easily accessible or your preference, olive oil or butter can be used. We tend to use butter as it gives the most similar texture to the original recipe used with lard.

In our family, when we were children, we would make these the morning of Easter Saturday and after we returned home from church for the Easter Saturday night Vigil, we would sit around the table together and delve in!

If you are lucky to have any leftover, they are perfect to take for a snack during a fresh spring walk on Easter Monday, Pasquetta, eaten hot or cold.

We share this, as well as other traditional recipes, in the first of our dedicated Recipe E-Books with this Easter Special Edition

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