Pizza al Formaggio: Cheese Cake (Umbria)

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It isn't Easter in Italy's central region of Umbria without pizza al formaggio, a savory cheese cake. Don't get confused by the name because it isn't a pizza and it definitely isn't a cheesecake! Also called torta al formaggio (cheese cake) and pizza di Pasqua (Easter pizza), it is a savory panettone-looking cheese and pepper cake. After spending many, many years in Umbria during summer, Mamma Giuliana is sharing her recipe.

Serving this dish. Pizza al formaggio is traditionally served during Easter breakfast with cold cuts, salami, and hard-boiled eggs. You can also have it as an apetizer, serve it on a picnic, or simply enjoy a slice whenever you are craving for a savory snack. Heat it up a little or just have it at room temperature.

Ingredients

500 g (17.6 oz) 0 flour

150 g (5.3 oz) milk

100 g (3.5 oz) Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

100 g (3.5 oz) extra virgin olive oil

75 g (2.6 oz) Emmentaler, coarsely grated with a large hole grater

85 g (3 oz) pecorino cheese, grated

20 g (0.7 oz) fresh yeast (or cake yeast or compressed yeast)

10 g (0.4 oz) salt

4 egg

pepper

Note. Emmenthal or Emmentaler is a semihard Swiss cow's milk cheese known for its large, walnut-sized holes. 

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Procedure

Use a round 18cm / 7in (diameter) by 10cm / 4in (tall) cake mold.

Dissolve the fresh yeast in warm milk.

Combine the flour with the pecorino and Parmigiano cheeses. Make a well in the center and add the eggs, the milk and yeast mixture, and the olive oil. Mix the ingredients and knead until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. Then add the salt, ground pepper, and the Emmentaler cheese.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in the cake mold greased with butter. Let it rise for 2 hours or until the dough has filled the mold.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F) and bake in the hot oven for 55-60 minutes.

Mamma Giuliana says. If the surface of the cake starts to darken a lot while baking, cover it with aluminum foil.

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The Perfect Italian Wine With Pizza al Formaggio

Local Aromas sommelier Eric says:

In central Italy, Easter breakfast is savory! Yup. We serve this 'pizza' together with salami and sliced boiled eggs and there are many regional variations to the recipe. You can also have it for Easter or Pasquetta lunch and enjoy it with an incredible Rosso di Montefalco wine, from the beautiful ancient town of Montefalco in Umbria.

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