Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Pastiera Napoletana

Pastiera Napoletana (Campania)

This is a real traditional treat to celebrate Easter in Italy, however it is great for any special occasion :-) The key ingredient, cooked wheat grain is somewhat particular, in Italy ready-made (already cooked) wheat that comes in a jar is readily available in supermarkets, which will simplify the procedure. You may want to check out any grocery shops which deal with the imported Italian food items if possible. If such wheat grain can not be found, you may want to try with cooked barley or rice. (the result will be different but should be equally delicious, sort of a rice pudding pie...

The above picture is the last one we made the other day, we decided to make a monster one which measures up to 55cm (almost 2 ft)... :-D We doubled the ingredients but somehow we didn't have enough the crust dough, so the typical criss-cross pattern on the surface had to be sacrificed!! Nontheless it made many people quite happy!! :-D

200g flour
150g lard or butter, or half/half
120g sugar
3 egg yolks
fresh orange zest from 1 orange

1 cup whole-wheat grain
3 eggs, separated
1200ml milk
80g candied orange and lemon peel
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a few drops of vanilla essence
fresh lemon zest from 1 lemon
pinch of salt
500g ricotta (preferably di pecora/of sheep milk)
240g sugar
1 tbs. orange-flower water
30g butter

Prepare the filling: soak the grain for 2-3 days, changing the water every day.

Knead the flour, butter, sugar and eggs and orange zest together until smooth.
Make a ball of the dough and let it rest for half an hour or so.

Drain the wheat and boil with fresh water for 30 mins. Drain and put back in the pot with milk, cinnamon, vanilla, a pinch of salt, and 1 tbs. of sugar. Bring to a boil, lower and cook over low heat until the milk is absorbed.

Beat the egg-whites until solid.
Beat ricotta, sugar and beat until creamy in a bowl. Add the yolks, the whole-wheat grain, diced candied fruits, lemon zest, and the orange-flower water. Fold in the beaten egg whites.

Grease a 30cm baking pan and dust with sugar. Line with 3/4 of the pastry. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into strips. Arrange the strips over the filling in a criss-cross pattern. Brush the strips of dough with egg yolk. Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and bake the cake for 1-1,5 hour, until the filling has set and the crust is golden brown.


  1. Yummmyyyy cake! Kak, next time can u do me a favor? Next time u bake a cake can u slice it up and then take a pic of it? It'll make me crave for it even more!!! Huhu :D

    -Arien Dani-

  2. Sure, shall do!! Actually there is still some left in the fridge, I will try not to let the appetite get the best of me and try to remember to take the pic!!
    Another good thing about this cake is it's durability, it keeps for at least one week without losing its quality... as it is a bit tedious to make, we tend to do a huge batch when we get on with it!! :-D

  3. Oh, really...it keeps well for up to a week..that's amazing! Just goes to show how fresh the ingredients itself are.

    -Arien Dani-