33-layer Ligurian cake: the origin of the name – Italian Cuisine

A very famous cake whose original recipe is reported in the oldest recipe books of Ligurian cuisine. Pasqualina cake or Ligurian cake 33 layers? Let's find out together

We are faced with what is probably one of the oldest recipes from the Ligurian cuisine. It is a tasty one savoury cake, also known as Pasqualina cake, which is cooked and served as starter on the occasion of Easter holidays.

33-layer Ligurian cake: origin of the name

There 33-layer Ligurian cake it is immediately recognized by the presence of egg in the filling and the scent of marjoram. In the original version from the recipe (which you find below), is composed of a pasta made with 33 very thin sheets superimposed representing the years of Christ and it is precisely for this reason that it is also known as 33-layer Ligurian cake.
In addition to the name, linked to this cake, there are traditions and uses that are being lost. For example, it seems that in ancient times the initials, made with a string of dough, of the head of the family to whom the Ligurian 33-layer cake was intended were affixed to the most superficial layer.

33-layer Ligurian cake.

33-layer Ligurian cake or pasqualina cake: traditional recipe

In the recipe that we report the layers are 33, as required by the tradition.
The execution of the dough is not simple and for this reason over the years, as is the case with almost all traditional recipes, the original recipe of the Ligurian 33-layer cake has been modified and simplified. But if you want to try that one authentic follow ours recipe!

Ingredients for a cake pan ø 24 cm

For the dough
1 kg of flour 00
450 g (approximately) of warm water
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons of fine salt

For the stuffing
800 g of chard
600 g of fresh ricotta (or 600 g of curd)
100 g of grated Parmesan cheese
50 g of butter
8 fresh eggs
fresh marjoram leaves to taste
extra virgin olive oil to taste
Salt to taste
black pepper to taste


Sift the flour on a wooden pastry board, make a hole in the center and pour in the water, salt and two tablespoons of oil. Knead vigorously for about ten minutes or until you get a soft and elastic dough. Divide the dough into 33 pieces of the same weight, about the size of a mandarin and place them spaced apart on the surface previously dusted with flour. Cover them with a damp cotton cloth or with cling film and leave to rest for an hour.

In the meantime, clean the beets depriving them of the central coast and wash them thoroughly. Cut them into thin strips and leave them in boiling salted water for a few minutes. Drain and squeeze them very well, then arrange them on a plate, spreading them out and salt them again. Add 50 g of grated Parmesan cheese, the chopped marjoram leaves and mix.

Put the ricotta cheese inside a colander placed on a bowl and compress it well so that all the serum comes out. Transfer the ricotta to a clean bowl and add 2 eggs, 50 g of grated Parmesan, salt and pepper. Mix well in order to obtain a homogeneous mixture.

Pick up the first of the 33 pieces of dough And roll it out very thinly with a rolling pin. You will have to get a thin sheet like a veil and for a satisfactory result you can help yourself by lifting the dough and spreading it even with the back of your fists as pizza chefs do with pizza dough.

Grease the bottom of the cake pan and settle inwardly the first veil of dough so that it overflows. Brush the surface of the dough with a little oil then continue to roll out another ten sheets and place them one on top of the other inside the pan, always greasing them except the last one. On this place the mixture based on beets spreading it well with the back of the spoon and season with a drizzle of oil. Continue by placing the mixture based on over the layer of chard ricotta cheese and butter flakes.
Using a spoon, make the filling 6 dimples regularly spaced and positioned inside each one raw whole egg, without the shell, taking care not to break the yolk. Season each egg with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Roll out the additional 22 sheets and place them on top of each other on the filling anointing them with oil on the surface and placing small pieces of butter on the edges of each sheet. Turn the dough that comes out of the pan inwards, pressing it as if to form a cord along the edge. Brush the surface of the cake with a little oil. Take a straw and cut it obliquely in one of the two ends, thus creating a tip.

Slightly engrave the surface of the cake with a pointed knife, insert the straw inside the hole e blow to make the cake swell. Place in the oven and cook for about an hour in a preheated oven at 180 ° C in static mode. When the cake is well colored, take it out of the oven and let it cool before turning it out of the mold and serving it cut into slices.

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