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Pastiera cake: recipe for a traditional Italian easter pie

The pastiera cake is a very famous Italian cake from Naples to be made for Easter: it’s a traditional recipe and it’s one of the many regional Easter cakes we have in Italy. The recipe of this pastiera is quite long but the result is absolutely worth and as soon as you’ll start baking your cake you’ll want to bake more and more.

The main ingredient of the neapolitan pastiera are the whole wheat berries which are cooked into the milk and mixed with many many other ingredients: it’s not a gluten free recipe and it can be hard to find a good jar of “grano cotto”, as we say in Italy, or whole wheat berries so I recommend to buy more than one jar if you find it and store.

Pastiera cake: ingredients for 3 cakes  (23 cm pan)

For the pastry
500 grams of plain flour
250 grams of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon and a half of orange blossom extract
Zest of 1 lemon
200 grams of sugar
5 eggs
1 pinch of cinnamon

For the stuffing
550 grams of cooked whole wheat berries
750 grams of ricotta cheese
250 grams of sugar
100 grams of candied peels
4 egg yolks
oz orange flower water
a pinch of cinnamon
220 ml of milk
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Pastiera cake: recipe

  1. Make the pastry by mixing in a bowl (with your hands or with a mixer) all the ingredients making sure to break up the butter when it is still cold. Once ready, put the pastry in the refrigerator and let it shrink until the rest is not ready.
  2. Boil the cooked wheat in milk by adding finely grated zest of 1 lemon and mix thoroughly until the mixture is very thick. Pour into an aluminum bowl or in a ceramic bowl and let it cool a bit.
  3. Mix thoroughly the drained ricotta cheese, candied peels, sugar, orange blossom, cinnamon and four egg yolks until a thick cream will form.
  4. Turn on the oven to 200°. Pull out the pastry from the refrigerator and roll it out to a height of about 1.5 cm by lining the pan so you get to the edge. Mix the ricotta mixture with the wheat and pour everything on the pastry. Use the remaining pastry to create the strips and add them on the surface of the pastiera cake sealing them for good at the edges.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour and a half at 180° (your pastiera will be cooked when it will be dark [unburned] on the surface!). Turn off the oven and leave to cool in the pan. Take it out when cold and if possible wait 24 hours before eating.

Preparation time: 3 hours

About the author
Veruska Anconitano
Veruska is a food and wine travel journalist awarded as Best Food Travel Journalist. Sommelier, in addition to cooking and traveling, she is often called upon to tell his experience during events and seminars.
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