The modern Pastiera was invented in a Neapolitan convent by an unknown nun. She wanted that cake, a symbol of the Resurrection, to have the perfume of the orange trees’ flowers that grew in the convent gardens. So, first, she mixed a handful of Wheat to the white ricotta cheese; then she added some eggs, a symbol of the new life, some water, which had the fragrance of the springtime flowers, candied citron, and aromatic Asian spices. Then, of course, the Pastiera has to be cooked some days in advance, no later than Maundy Thursday or Good Friday, to allow the fragrances to mix correctly and result in that unique flavor.
To assemble the Pastiera, we need to prepare all the elements apart, the pastry cream, ricotta cream, the Wheat, and the pastry crust.
The quantity of the product in our recipe is for two pie trays of Pastiera. Though, tradition is that every woman should prepare an extra and give it away to family and friends.
Let’s start with the pastry cream:
Ingredients for the pastry cream:
80gr. of Sugar
40gr. of Flour
500ml. Whole milk
Four egg yolks
Combine sugar and flour in a small saucepan. Then add the milk and whisk all well, Then add the egg yolk, and mix to combine. Cook over low heat, constantly stirring until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. It should take from 3 to 5 minutes. After that, please remove it from heat, add shredded lemon zest, and whisks well. Pour into a bowl and let it cool.
How to prepare the ricotta filling:
Ingredients for the ricotta filling
400gr. of Sugar
600gr. of Ricotta
Add the sugar and the milk to a saucepan and mix well to combine.
How to boil the Wheat:
First, we need to cook the Wheat (420gr. Of Wheat). The grain should be rinsed with water and placed in a pot with enough cold water to cover it 1 inch above. Cook over medium heat, occasionally stirring for about 30 to 40 minutes until tender. Drain and let it cool. Alternatively, you can use a jar of Grano Cotto.
After that, we need to prepare boiled Wheat as an ingredient for the Pastiera.
420gr. of grain (already cooked)
300ml. of Milk
1tbs. of melted butter
Cloves 4-5 pieces
Lemon and orange zest
Add all the ingredients together—Cook over medium heat for about 30 to 40 min stirring constantly. Pour into a bowl to chill.
How to prepare the pastry crust:
600gr. of Flour
150gr. of sugar
300 gr. Melted butter
1small spoon of honey
Put the flour on your work surface. In the center, add all the ingredients and mix by hand. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic film, and store in the fridge for later use.
Now we need to combine all the elements we had prepared:
The juice from one orange
cinnamon at test
In a small saucepan, whisks the eggs.
Then in a big saucepan, combine the pastry cream, Wheat already chilled, and ricotta filling, mix all well and add the eggs. Pour the orange juice, add the cinnamon and lemon zest. Mix well. If the mixture looks thicker, add more milk to soften it.
Roll out pastry dough and fit it into a pie plate.
Pour half of the filling into the pastry shell.
Roll out the remaining pastry dough and cut it into tiny strips to form a lattice top for the pie. Place the lattice strips on top of the pie filling.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in a preheat oven to 180°C till golden.
Easter Wheat Pie or Pastiera di Grano is best for breakfast, brunch, and afternoon tea.
Buon Appetito 😊