Easter

Nonna Lorenza's Pastiera

October 19, 2020
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Photo by blissofcooking
Author Notes

"Her majesty, Pastiera" as Eduardo de Filippo once said, is a traditional Neapolitan pie.
I can not stress enough how delicious this pie is, with a creamy ricotta filling, wheat pudding and candied citrus peeled bites, all scented with orange blossom water and assembled into a "pasta frolla".
In Naples, Pastiera is a synonymous of Easter, for me is a synonymous of happiness. Every single bite of it, it is a journey to one of the most fascinating city of Italy.
It has been 8 years since I first got introduced with this pie, and since than I try to make it in every big occasion (not only Easters).

This recipe is a gift from the great grand mother of my closest friend. During the time, I have made it so many times, that I have tried to add a few flavors.

When I first read the recipe, I was overwhelmed and I thought I was never going to be able to make it (large list of ingredients makes you think so), but believe me, it all comes together easily and you will end with a delicious pie.

The process might look complicated, but it is very easy when made ahead:
First you will have to cook the boiled wheat with milk and lemon zest. I like to add to this step a small spoon of vanilla beans. I love the flavor it gives and the smell. You cook everything together until you obtain a creamy consistency (like oatmeal). I also add a tablespoon of butter at this step, but this is completely optional. (Original recipe calls for lard(animal fat).) Let his mixture cool overnight.

Next, prepare the pie pastry, ricotta filling and pastry cream
(yes, I like adding a few spoons of pastry cream, it gives the Pastiera a more creamy texture and it tastes amazing).
For the pastry, the original recipe calls for lard, but over the time I have replaced it with butter. It still tastes great.
Normally, I like to prepare the ricotta filling and pastry cream on the same day with wheat pudding and let them cool over night, in order for flavors to infuse better.

I really hope you enjoy this recipe. —blissofcooking

  • Prep time 24 hours
  • Cook time 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Serves 8
Ingredients
  • For the "pasta frolla" (pie pastry) :
  • 300 grams flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 120 grams cold butter
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • For the filling:
  • 250 grams cooked wheat
  • 350 milliliters milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla beans
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 300 grams sheep ricotta
  • 5 eggs (2 full, 3 yolks)
  • 200 grams brown sugar
  • 100 grams candied citrus peels (orange, cedar, lemon)
  • 15 milliliters orange blossom water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 100 grams pastry cream.
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (for dusting)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. For the "pasta frolla" (pie pastry) :
  2. Combine all dry ingredients together. Add the cold butter ( chopped in small pieces) and mix until crumbs form. Start adding the eggs, one at a time Mix until everything comes together. If the dough results to dry sprinkle it with a few drops of milk. Cover it and refrigerate for 1 hour (or overnight).
  1. For the filling:
  2. In a small pan add the cooked wheat, milk, lemon zest and vanilla beans. Bring it a boil and than simmer for 30 minutes or until the mixture starts to thickens. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, give it a stir and allow to cool down (overnight for better results).
  3. In a large bowl beat the eggs along with sugar. Add ricotta, pastry cream, candied peels, orange blossom water and cinnamon. Mix until you obtain a creamy texture. Refrigerate overnight for flavors to infuse.
  4. Preheat oven to 356 °F (180 °C). Roll out the pastry and fit it into a greased springform. Cut out any overhangs and use it for the long strips in the end. (Cut long strips about 1 cm wide). Fold together the wheat pudding and ricotta mixture and pour it on top of pie pastry. Lay the pastry strips on top by forming rhombus shapes and press gently the ends of the strips into the pastry.
  5. Cook the pastiera at 356 °F for 80 minutes. In the last 20 minutes position in the pastiera in the lower part of the oven. If you notice that the crust is browning to much cover it with some aluminum foil. Once pastiera is cooked allow it to completely cool down. Before serving dust it with some powdered sugar.

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