Baked artichokes sformato flan

Artichoke lovers, you will adore this recipe. Tender boiled artichokes baked in an egg, Parmigiano and milk batter and dotted with mozzarella. Perfect for Spring picnics!

Italian artichoke flan
This recipe reminds me so much of my mother that I can hardly bring myself to write about it. It brings good, happy memories as this was one of her favorite dishes for picnics.  Yes, other people had sandwiches and salads, we had lasagne, eggplant parmesan and sformato di carciofi. We also had a small folding table with a miniature table-cloth and real fork and knives, no plastic. So we lived in the ’70, eating wonderful food under the spring sun.


  • 8 artichokes
  • 6 eggs
  • 100 gr (3 ounces) grated Parmigiano cheese
  • 200 gr (7 ounces) mozzarella or cow’s milk caciotta thinly sliced
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoon bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 lemon

Put a large pan of water on the fire, squeeze the juice of the lemon in the water and add the squeezed lemon to it. This prevents the artichokes turning a scary turquoise color while cooking. Rinse artichokes and drop in the boiling water. Cook for 20 min or until one of the central leaves come away with a little give. Drain and cool. Pull away the outer tough leaves, peel and trim stems, and cut away the choke if there is any. Quarter artichokes and then cut quarters in half again.

Beat the eggs with the Parmesan and season. Butter a bundt-pan generously, then dust with the bread crumbs, knocking out the excess. Now build up the sformato (timbale) in the pan by layering artichokes and cheese  ending with artichokes. Pour the egg and cheese mixture, sprinkle with an extra tablespoon or two of Parmesan and bake at 200 °C (390 °F) until set and golden.
Serves 8 as an appetizer, 6 as a vegetarian main. Serve at room temperature.

PS: Should you not have access to fresh artichokes, my friend Jack who lives in Southern California, recommends T.J. artichokes canned in water which he uses to make my artichoke sformato with quite splendid results.

artichokes flan made with cheese and eggs
Jack’s beautiful rendition of the artichokes sformato




  1. Sometimes the most obvious ideas are the hardest to see! Altho I’ve made sformato before, I just never thought to make it with atichokes! I’ll be trying this recipe for sure – thanks to you – and your wonderful mother!

    • Hi Barb! Thsi basic recipe is good for all sformati di verdure (i.e.) vegetable timbales. You need to precook the vegetable either by blanching or braising in a little olive oil. Then you continue with cheese and eggs. Easy peasy.

      • Ciao Letizia, sono contenta di aver trovato il tuo blog! Ho visto che tu abiti in Umbria (mi piace molto Umbria!) Speravo che il tuo blog fosse in italiano, pero’ capisco il desiderio di communicare in un’altra lingua! Grazie per venire a trovarmi al mio blog! E’ divertente che scriviamo i nostri blog nella lingua dell’altra!
        Penso che abbiamo un’amica in comune…forse alcune! Conosci Megan McCaffrey? Dopo aver visto il tuo blog mi sono resa conto che lei mi ha dato informazioni del tuo B&B. Sono la sua disegnatrice che ha fatto il suo sito web. (Faccio una visita in Italia questo settembre e lei mi ha detto che il tuo posto e’ incredibile) Poi c’e’ Helen e Luana (Luana e’ un’amica di Helen e ci conosciamo su FB!) Il mondo e’ proprio piccolo!
        Devo dirti che sono appena ritornata dal supermercato dove ho comprato i carciofi. Penso di provare la ricetta sformato di carciofi stasera. Ti diro’ come va! Grazie ancora. A presto.

  2. Oh, Letizia, I’m sending you virtual hugs — you must miss your Mother so much, and food is so evocative of memories. But I’m glad you have such good memories — your family picnics sound fantastic! Lasagna would be 1,000 times better than dry sandwiches!
    This recipe sounds delicious, although I’m a bit uncomfortable with artichokes, I don’t believe I’ve ever cooked one! (I’ve only dealt with bottled, preserved artichokes.)

    • Ciao Sandra, I have no idea if artichokes are already available in Canadian supermarkets. You need young artichokes, they need to be fresh looking and tightly closed. If you can look inside and see a lot of choke they are no good.
      This recipe is actually good for beginners, it’s basically just blanched vegetables mixed with cheese and eggs, really!
      Once you have cooked them, if you are not sure about how many leaves to remove, just taste them. If a leaf is chewy and fibrous you have to remove it. If it’s tender you keep the rest.

  3. Oh No! Now I’m going to have to buy a bundt pan!! And I can’t think of one of those, without thinking of a scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding!! (If you haven’t seen it, rent it – just substitute in your mind – Italian for Greek!! Very similar! Very funny!)
    My Italian is rubbish, I thought that sformata was the word for pie with a pastry crust!
    This looks totally delicious, I love artichokes – I’m trying to grow them in my orto – maybe I’ll be lucky this year! I won’t wait tho, I’ll go and buy some this week! Along with the bundt pan!!

    • Ciao Giselle, the word sformato means basically something hat comes out of a mold, so it can be applied to many recipes. Something in a pastry crust is called more often “pasticcio”. It’s typical of Southern Italian cuisine, no Umbrian will offer you a pasticcio. I’ll have to rent that film, I have heard is very funny!

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