Tag Archive - italian pie

Handwritten Recipes

With 70,000 books and 3000 cookbooks in stock, Michael Popek, a bookseller in New York finds a “collection of curious and wonderful recipes forgotten between the pages.” Michael has taken those forgotten recipes and turned them into a wonderful cookbook for you and me.

I stumbled upon Michael’s blog about a year ago and tested one of the recipes he had posted. It turned out so good, I decided to photograph it so Michael could post it for guests at his blog. I love the concept of trying to decipher the original intent of the recipes, and find myself wondering about the people who made them.

So when he asked me if I would cook something and photograph it for his new cookbook, I was excited to experiment again. I wanted to honor the original intent of the recipe creator, while making it easy for readers to follow. However, I didn’t know he was going to send me this:


  • 1 pound butts, ground or cut up in small pieces
  • 1 leg of pepperoni sausage
  • 1 package of provolone cheese (1/2 pound or more)
  • 1 large onion
  • parsley grated cheese
  • 4 or more eggs

It went on to say, “make a crust like pie crust” but didn’t include a recipe. It was also missing oven temperature and cooking time, and what the heck is a ‘butt?’ Pork or beef? My work was cut out for me, but the finished product remains a family staple. I’m including my version of this Italian Pie for you here, but I encourage you to buy Michael’s book to discover more forgotten recipes and make them your own. This pie is found on page 83 of Michael’s book, let me know how you like it!


I used a buttered 10.5 false bottom tart pan for this dish. You could use a pie dish, but the size of this pan went perfectly with the amount of crust yielded by the pastry.

I baked this dish in a 350 degree oven for approximately 55 minutes. I started at 30, and then increased it in 10 minute increments, until the final 5. You might bake it faster at 375 for 45 minutes.

Italian Pie Filling

1 lb. ground beef
1 5 oz. package of pepperoni
1 8 oz. package of provolone cheese
1 large onion, diced
1 handful of parsley, chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 eggs

Italian Pie Crust

1 1/2 cups flour (300 grams; 10.5 oz)
2 Tb. olive oil
1 pinch salt
2/3 cup warm water (5 oz.; 150ml)

Method for Pie Crust

Mix the flour and salt together in a mixing bowl, add the oil and water. Knead for 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Set aside while you make the filling.

Method for Pie Filling

Brown the ground beef in a skillet, stirring often to prevent too much browning. Add the onions and cook until the onions are translucent and meat is fully cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
In a food processor, add pepperoni and provolone cheese and pulse until chopped into little pieces. Add to the browned beef and onions.
Now that the beef and pepperoni mixture are in the mixing bowl, add parsley, grated parmesan cheese and the eggs.
Mix until everything is well incorporated using a mixing spoon.

Method for Assembling

Take the pastry dough that has been resting, and cut it in half with a knife or pastry cutter.
Roll out into a large disk about 10.5” in diameter, and press into a prepared pie tin with scalloped edge and false bottom. Make sure to press the dough against the scalloped edge.
Add the filling to the pie tin on top of the pastry.
Roll out the other half of the pastry dough, and gently place it on top of the filling, making sure to press it against the sides of the tin to reveal a nice edge when the pie is all finished.
Make small decorative slices on top of the pastry dough.
Place dish onto a cookie sheet and bake for 55 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove the false bottom and cut into 8 slices.

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