Neapolitan pastiera is one of the typical traditional sweets, usually prepared in occasion of Easter.
According to legend it was created by the siren Partenope, at the time of pagan celebrations.
More reliable sources recall the use of celebrating the goddess Ceres with eggs, later integrated in the Christian tradition as a symbol of rebirth.
Pastiera dates back, in any case, to the sixteenth century, especially in the area of San Gregorio Armeno, thanks to the manual skill in cooking of many religious women.
The recipe of Neapolitan pastiera originated in Campania, but it is now pretty common to find it in all Italy, in Easter lunches and breakfasts, side by side with the traditional Easter dove or casatiello, a rustic savory cake of Neapolitan origin.
STEP BY STEP RECIPE
INGREDIENTS:For The Pasta Frolla
- 1½ cups of all purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- pinch saltFor The Filling:
- 1/2 cup sheep’s milk ricotta cheese
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of precooked wheat grain
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 ml orange floral water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1/3 cup of mixed candied fruit (orange, citron etc)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
- 2/3 cups of whole milk
- 1/2 tbsp of limoncello or fresh lemon juiceMETHOD:Combine the flour with the sugar and salt.Add the butter and rub it into the flour to form rough crumbs.You can also use a pastry scraper for this purpose.Now add the whole egg. Lightly knead into a firm dough.Cover with a plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.Prepare the filling: Start by boiling the precooked wheat berries in milk. Add the butter, sugar and lemon zest. Cook until the mixture is creamy. Let cool.Separate the whites from the yolks. Beat the whites into soft peaks. Set aside.Strain the ricotta, add the sugar and mix. Add the yolks one at a time while beating.Now add in the orange floral water, cinnamon powder, vanilla, cooked wheat berries, limoncello and finely the candied fruit.Fold in the beaten egg whites.Take out the pasta frolla from the fridge. Reserve about a quarter of the dough, it will later be used to form the lattice on top of the pie. Roll out it into a circle with the help of a rolling pin.The circle should be big enough to line an 8 inch pie dish. Place it on the greased pie dish.Flatten it with the help of your fingers.Make sure the crust is lined well along the sides of the pie dish. Prick with the help of a fork.Trim off the excess dough with the help of a knife.Roll out the reserved dough into thin strips.Pour the prepared filling into the pie shell. Place the strips of dough over the pastry in a crisscross manner. Trim off the excess dough if any.Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 40 to 50 minutes or until light golden brown in colour.Allow to cool and dust with icing sugar before serving.