In: All Recipes recipes20 March 2008
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Pastiera is a typical Neapolitan cake we make at Easter time. It has a base of shortcrust pastry, and a filling of wheat grains, ricotta cheese and pastry cream.
Many of you have asked for the real recipe to make Pastiera, but I don’t think there is a “real recipe”. For example, in my family we use to mill half of the wheat grains, we don’t add candied fruits (because nobody likes them!), but do add pastry cream.
Traditional (and not) recipes are always modified and adapted to the taste of the family, that’s why there will always be hundreds of variants… And also why you can’t give a Pastiera as a gift: people usually like their own version, and often don’t even taste other’s (firstly me!)… But that’s ok: every family make its own recipe the traditional one 😉
This is to say that I’m not posting THE recipe to make Pastiera, but just MY recipe, handed down from generation to generation in my family.

Happy Easter to all of you!

Ingredients for a 32 cm round pan:
Ingredient for the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:
500 g of pastry flour
5 eggs
150 g of butter
200 g of sugar
1 zest of lemon

Ingredients for the wheat cream:
buy Alesse 500 g of wheat
300 ml of milk
70 g of butter
1 zest of lemon
1 packet of vanillin

Ingredients for the ricotta cream:
500 g of ricotta
350 g buy cheap Lithium of sugar
5 buy diflucan eggs
1 packet of cinnamon
2 ml of orange flower water

Ingredients for the Pastry Cream:
5 yolks
500 ml of milk
50 g of pastry flour
5 tbsp of sugar
1 zest of lemon

Preparation Time: 1 hour and 30 min.
Baking Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hour and 30 min.

How to make Pastiera

Shortcrust Pastry:
Mound the flour, make a well and put inside sugar, butter in pieces, eggs and lemon zest.

Quickly amalgamate the ingredients with a fork, and incorporate all the flour.

Keep kneading till you get a plain and smooth dough.

Cover with some plaistc wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Wheat grain cream:
Rinse the wheat grains, put it in a pot with milk, butter, vanillin and lemon zest. Let cook for about 30 minutes, just stir every now and then.

Keep cooking till the milk will have been absorbed and the cream will have got thick and creamy. Let cool down.

Pastry Cream
Beat yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl till light and frothy. Dissolve the flour in the milk. Stir the milk into the eggs.

Add the lemon zest, pour the mixture into a heavy-based saucepan, and turn the gas on.

Stir continuously to avoid lumps. When ready, let cool down.

Ricotta Cream
Sift the ricotta through a sifter. Put it in a mixing bowl, and whisk it with the sugar till you get a plain and smooth mixture.

Separate yolks and egg whites. Whisk the whites till stiff, and put them aside.

Mill half of the wheat grain cream (if you prefer, you can mill all of it, or none at all), and put all of it (milled and not) in a large mixing bowl.

Stir yolks, pastry cream and ricotta cream into the wheat.

Amalgamate gently, then slowly add egg whites, orange flower water and cinnamon.

Amalgamate very gently with a wooden spoon till you get a smooth mixture.

Roll out the shortcrust pastry on the floured pastry board. You need a 3 mm round sheet.

Line a buttered cake pan with your pastry sheet, and level the edge. Pour the filling over it with a ladle, till a half cm from the edge of the pastry sheet (during baking the cream will rise a little).

With the remaining dough, make some stripes with a knife or a crimper pastry cutter. Put the stripes onto the filling, making the characteristic diamond pattern.

Pre-heat the oven at 180°C, and cook Pastiera for about 1 hour (or till it will be golden brown).

Here in Naples we use to meke Pastiera on Thursday, and to eat it no sooner than the next day, so that all the flavors will have the time to blend and combine… And the pastiera to cool completely: I bag you: do not eat it till hot!

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