Eggplant parmigiana is my mum's specialty. She is so good at it, I'm yet to master the flavour she produces even though we've made it together an endless number of times. This pie is constructed like an eggplant parmigiana and has, what I think, is the secret to a moist and delicious parmigiana - beaten egg. There are many variations of filling for the 'torta salata' (savoury pie), another popular one in our house at this time of year is chicory, capers, anchovies, mozzarella and pork/fennel sausages.
For the pastry
300g plain flour
3 T olive oil
100ml cold water
pinch of salt
For the filling
2 large eggplants
2 cups of passata
1 garlic clove
small bunch of basil
200g mozzarella, sliced thinly
3/4 cup grated parmesan
1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt
1. Cut the eggplants lengthways into 1/2 cm pieces. Arrange on trays and sprinkle with salt to extract the bitterness.
2. For the dough: Place the flour on a work surface and create a well in the center. Add a pinch of salt and the oil. With your fingertips, knead to form little balls . Add the water and work it all quite quickly, forming the dough into a ball (work it until it comes together and is relatively smooth). Wrap in cling film and let rest in the fridge for half an hour.
3. For the sauce: In a small pan over medium flame, heat 2 T of olive oil and fry the clove of garlic for 1 minute. Add the passata, basil, a pinch of salt and cook for about 7 minutes. Put aside.
4. Lightly cover the surface of a large fry pan with oil. On medium heat, fry the eggplants in batches, shaking off salt and any bitter juices that have been extracted before putting them in the fry pan. Fry for a few minutes on either side until golden brown, transferring to a plate as you work. You will need to coat the surface of the fry pan with oil after each batch until they are all done.
5. Flour your work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the pastry until it is 2-3 mm thick. Work it evenly so you create a large circle about 32cm wide. Oil a piece of baking paper larger than the size of your baking dish (I used a dish that is 27cm wide). With the dry side facing down, mould the baking paper to your dish. Transfer your pastry to the prepared dish and gently mould to the pan. Your pastry should come up the sides.
6. Arrange the parmigiana. Start by lightly covering the base with sauce, followed by a single layer of eggplant, using 1/3 of them. Cover the eggplant layer with 1/3 of the sauce and 1/3 of both the mozzarella and parmesan (spreading your ingredients evenly). Using a fork drizzle half the beaten egg over the layer. Repeat process for the next two layers; the top layer does not have beaten egg. Ensure your final layer has enough sauce and cheese for a moist golden finish.
7. Fold the pastry sides over the edges and make little waves as pictured above. Cook at 200C until pastry is golden brown.
You can make this pie up to two days ahead. Keep it refrigerated then reheat in the oven.