Pastiera is traditionally made on Good Thursday or Good Friday and is to be eaten as a dessert on Easter Sunday! Each family hands down a ‘secret’ recipe from one generation to the next. I extend my family recipe from Naples to the many of friends who have enjoyed this dessert that I personally have made for you! ~Francesca
Time Saving Tips:
By following these tips the time spent on this recipe can be reduced to 30 minutes for total preparation time from 3 hours. Buy already pre-cooked grain. Additionally, Pasta Frolla / Pie Crust is commonly sold as a pre-made item in the stores, use the pre-made crust. Following these 2 tips will help you to put this wonderful dessert together in no time at all!
Grain Tip for Ol’ Fashion Recipe!
If you decide to cook your own wheat, go for the soft wheat, which you can usually find in health food stores and some grocery stores.
You can process the ricotta smooth in a food processor first if you know that your crowd isn’t into the distinctive texture that ricotta brings to the dessert.
A few more caveats: I used a 9 x 2-inch layer cake pan for this recipe, or even a springform pan if you don’t mind working the dough further down the higher sides of the pan.
You can use any pasta frolla (pie crust) sweet, short pastry dough recipe you prefer. Mine is generous to allow for a bit of freedom in deciding your pan size, plus I like having a little extra dough in case of a flub, or just to have on hand for miniature crostate or to roll out as cookies.
Preheat the oven to 325°F and position a rack in the middle of the oven.
10 to 12 servings
Crust can be homemade or store bought.
- 250 g Flour
- 100 g Sugar
- 100 g Butter
- 1 Large Egg
- Lemon Zest of half Lemon
- Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and work together with your hands until ingredients form into a smooth dough ball. Place into the refrigerator for 30 minutes until cold 0r 10 minutes in the freezer while making the filling.
- 250 grams Sugar
- 3 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 300 grams Ricotta (cow’s milk only or unsalted goat’s milk)
- 10 ounces of precooked whole grain (may substitute with barley) Should be creamy in texture without losing integrity of grain.
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp of Orange Flower Water (Preferred: PANEANGELI Aroma Fior d’Arancio per Pastiera Napoletana)
- 1/4 cup candied fruit (optional)
For uncooked grain, place 224 grams (8 ounces) grain in a sauce pan over low heat in 1 1/2 cups milk with 1 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon for 2 hours, stirring often with a wooden spoon until the mixture is creamy—the grains will retain their shape, but the rest of the mixture should be soft and smooth and there should be no huge clumps of grain; it should resemble creamy oatmeal. Transfer the grain mixture to a shallow bowl and allow it to cool completely.
Place in a large bowl eggs and sugar whisk until doubled in size. Add Ricotta ,Precooked Grain, Vanilla, Lemon Zest, Orange Flower Water and Candied Fruit, making sure all the ingredients are completely combined. Consistency of batter will be similar to thick pancake batter.
Pour the filling into and carefully arrange the 6-7 inch length dough strips on top to form a lattice pattern and pinching the edges together with the overhang. Trim all the pastry so that is is even to the top of the pan.
Bake the pastiera on the middle rack of the oven for 55 to 60 minutes, (rotating it 180° after 20 minutes to ensure even browning). If necessary, you can protect the edges from overbrowning with some strips of aluminum foil.
The pastiera is done when the filling is set but jiggly and the pastry is golden brown. A knife inserted in the center will come out clean. Remove it from the oven and set it to cool on a rack. Allow the pastiera to cool completely, or chill it overnight before cutting it into wedges to serve.