Posted May 1, 2000

This is the recipe for Grandma's pizza gaina, as Aunt Lucy and Uncle Dominick told Peter over lunch in 1983. The amounts are approximate - they didn't have a written recipe. We've made it this way a few times, and it tastes just like Grandma's. You'll think you're back on Ann Street!

Photo courtesy of Uncle Angelo!

This recipe fits in three 12x18 cookie sheets. The pans do need to have a lip around the perimeter.

First: the dough.
2 packets of dry yeast - follow the instructions on the packet
10 lbs. flour
10 eggs
9 cups warm water
1 cup of oil

Put flour in a bowl or on a large board. Form a well in the middle of the flour, and put all liquid ingredients in this well. Work flour from the sides of the well in, until a large ball is formed. Put the ball on a large floured board and kneed well for approximately 10 minutes, flouring as needed.

Divide into three equal balls, and put into lightly oiled bowls. Cover, and put in a warm location to rise, for approximately one hour.

Second: the filling.
Amounts are approximate. Use more or less depending on how thick you like your pizza gaina.
4 lbs dry sausage (may substitute pepperoni)
4 lbs. ham
2 lbs. salami
2 lbs. proscuitto
1 and 1/2 cups grated cheese
2 dozen eggs

Cut meats into small cubes.

Cutting the meats into small cubes.

Mix eggs and combine with meats and cheese.

Third: back to the dough.
Lightly grease the three pans.

Punch down the dough. Roll out to twice the size of your pan lengthwise. Place dough in the pan, with half of the dough in the pan, and half extending beyond the pan, onto the board.

Add one third of the meat/cheese ingredients, and spread evenly.

Then fold the overlapping dough, crimping all edges together, sealing the bread.

Trim if uneven around edges.

The edges must be firmly sealed to form the bread.

Repeat this procedure with the other two balls of dough, etc.

Brush with egg wash - approximately 7 eggs mixed with water.

Cover the top of the dough with fork pricks, making sure that the holes vent down to the filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately one and one-half hours, checking occasionally to make sure the edges are not burning. If the edges brown before pizza is done, cover the edges lightly with foil.

Pizza is finished when top is crusty and "thumps" when tapped with fingers. Remove from oven. Let cool. Remove from cookie sheet and finish cooling.

We had a little extra this year!

Although Grandma kept her pizza gaina by her bedroom window, we recommend refrigerating leftovers after cutting. Pizza gaina is served at room temperature, but it also tastes great right out of the fridge. Enjoy!

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