Easter brings with it countless culinary traditions, different from region to region.
In our family, together with the traditional Sicilian cassata and the inevitable marzipan lamb, Costanza, my daughter our home cook, loves to dabble in a great classic for this holiday: the Neapolitan Pastiera, with its unmistakable orange blossom aroma.
For the shortcrust pastry:
300 grams of flour
150 grams of sugar
150 grams of room temperature butter
3 egg yolks
a pinch of salt
For the filling:
1⁄2 jar of cooked wheat berries
Half a glass of milk
400 grams of ricotta
400 grams of sugar
4 egg yolks + 4 whole eggs
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of orange blossom extract (very important but hard to find, usually sold in a small vial)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Cominciate preparando la frolla che avrà bisogno di riposare un po’ in frigo.
Versate farina e zucchero in una ciotola capiente.
Aggiungete i 3 tuorli e un pizzico di sale.
Infine incorporate il burro a temperatura ambiente, lavorandolo con le mani senza farlo riscaldare troppo.
Impastate gli ingredienti fino a raggiungere una consistenza solida, ma morbida.
Avvolgete l’impasto nella pellicola trasparente e lasciate riposare in frigo per circa mezz’ora.
Dedicate yourself to the filling now.
In a saucepan, first heat the precooked wheat berries with half a glass of milk, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a tablespoon of the sugar and the zest of a lemon. Let it cook for about for about 15 minutes. Then set it off to the side to cool down.
In the meantime, separate 4 yolks from the egg whites. Beat the egg whites until they whip up and add a pinch of salt.
In another large bowl, combine the ricotta, the rest of the sugar, four egg yolks and four whole eggs. Whisk vigorously or use an electric hand mixer.
Pour in the cooled down wheat mixture and add the vanilla and orange blossom extracts.
Gently incorporate the whipped egg whites. Try not to stir it, but instead lift the mixture from the bottom folding it over the top with a wooden spoon.
At this point, take the pastry dough out of the fridge and roll it out on parchment paper to a thickness of a few millimeters.
Make a round shape, a little bit wider than the size of the base of your round baking pan.
Save a small bit of pastry dough for decorating the top.
Butter and flour the pan before laying the pastry over top, piercing it with the prongs of a fork.
Make sure that the pastry also adheres to the sides of the pan.
Pour the filling into the uncooked dough. Use the remaining dough to make strips of about 2 cm each that lay carefully on the dough creating a weaving pattern (as seen in the photo).
Bake your Neapolitan Pastiera in the preheated oven at 150°C/300°F for about an hour and a half.
Allow it to cool down before serving.
Volete organizzare da noi un workshop di cucina?