I first wrote about Pastiera a few years back in Easter in Naples, It’s All About the Pastiera. At the time, I found the idea of making this classic ricotta and wheat pie served on every Neapolitan’s Easter table completely overwhelming.

A family tradition, I had no desire to muck it up. And the idea of cooking the wheat, making the pastry, preparing the filling, and assembling the Pastiera, well after my first failure, the process completely intimidated me.

But I’m intimidated no more.

For this time honored tradition, Giuseppe called on the baker in the family, his big sis Anna, who schooled us in the art of making this Easter delight. Turns out that with a bit of time and a whole lot of patience, the process is not nearly as hard as I first believed.

And armed with Anna’s recipe, like the little engine that could, I actually believe I could make this pie myself!

Ingredients

For the Pastry
600 Grams Flour
7 Eggs Plus 2 Yolks
200 Grams Sugar
200 Grams Butter
Pinch of Cinnamon
Grated lemon peel

For the Wheat Mixture
500 Grams Gran Cotto – cooked wheat in a jar or can
500 Grams Whole Milk
50 Grams Butter
1 tsp Sugar
Grated lemon peel
Pinch of Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt

For the Filling
Wheat Mixture
500 Grams Ricotta
10 Eggs
500 Grams Sugar
60 ml Orange Blossom Water
60 ml Aroma Millefiore
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Dash of Cinnamon
Candied Citron

Method

Cook The Wheat Mixture
(The wheat mixture should be prepared the day before and refrigerated overnight)

Combine all of the ingredients for the wheat mixture in a sauce pan
Bring to a boil and cook over medium high heat until it becomes very creamy, about 2 hours
Refrigerate overnight

Make the Pastry
In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon
Grate in the peel of one lemon
Add the eggs, yolks and the butter
Bring the mixture together with your hands until it forms a soft dough
Turn the dough onto a floured surface
Knead well, about 10 mins, adding flour as needed until the dough is soft and elastic
Let rest 1/2 hour

  
Cooking with Giuseppe - Pastiera
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Prepare the filling
Separate the eggs, yolks in one bowl, whites in another
Add the sugar to the egg yolks and beat well with a hand or stand mixer
Beat egg whites well with a hand or stand mixer until thick
Break the ricotta up a bit with a fork
Add the ricotta to the egg whites and beat well
Add the egg yolk and sugar mixture to the egg whites and beat until well blended
Add the wheat mixture and beat well
Blend in the vanilla, cinnamon, millefiore, and orange blossom water
Add the candied citron and mix through by hand

  
Cooking with Giuseppe - Pastiera
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Assemble the Pastiera
Grease the bottom and sides of a large spring form pan
Divide the dough in half
Roll 1/2 of the dough out until it is slightly larger then the diameter of the pan
Roll the dough up onto the rolling pin and gently slide it into the pan
Press down around the bottom and the sides
Pour the Pastiera filling into the pan
Roll the other half of the dough out for the lattice top
Cut into even strips with a knife or a pastry or pizza cutter
Evenly place a row of strips across the pie
Add a second row of evenly spaced strips either perpendicular or on at an angle to the first row
Bake the Pastiera at 100°c for one hour, turn the oven up to 150°c and bake another hour or until a toothpick inserted into the pie comes clean
Turn the oven off and let the Pastiera sit in the over for another 15 minutes
Remove the Pastiera to a cooling rack and let cool for several hours before removing it from the pan

Note – If you use a large enough spring form pan, the Pastiera mixture will not completely fill the pan. You can bring the dough and lattice strips up the side of the pan and cut the excess off after the Pastiera is baked.

Buon Appetito!