I could not find a way to explicitly pass "empty" Html to the piece template from the controller

Empty Html can be passed with Html(""), you can even define it as a default value.

But in the end you just have to listen to compiler - it never lies. From your comments I understand this is how you defined your template:

(piecesData: controllers.objects.PiecesDataRequest)(content: play.api.templates.Html)(implicit user: models.User)

and this is how you call it:

views.html.content.pieces(PiecesDataRequest( Piece.getPiecesForContentFeed(contentFeedID), contentFeedID), Html(""))

You define three parens, but you are calling only two. Do it like this:

       PiecesDataRequest(Piece.getPiecesForContentFeed(contentFeedID), contentFeedID))(Html(""))

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