My pastiera for Easter - Venetian homecooking recipe

I hope all of you is spending a Happy Easter wherever you are! Each year I prepare a traditional cake for Easter; last year it was the "treccia pasquale", this year I found the recipe (on this month's issue of Sale e Pepe) for the "pastiera", a gorgeous cake from Naples, which is anyway largely appreciated in all Italy. It's actually less long to make than I thought, so give it a try! There are some particular ingredients which give this cake its distinctive flavour: natural orange flower aroma and cooked wheat grains, which you can easily find at Mascari, THE drugstore in Venice, where you can find all kinds of wines, spices, sweets and confectionary ingredients. Name it, they have it!

For 6 persons:

For pastry:

  • 280g wheat flour
  • 140g butter
  • 140g sugar
  • 1 egg and 1 yolk
  • Salt

Put in the mixer flour, salt and cold butter cut in pieces; mix until the butter is crumbled; add sugar and eggs and mix some more; when you get a homogeneous pastry, work it by hand and make a ball; cover it with cellophane and put it in the fridge.

For wheat filling:

  • 1 can cooked wheat grains (400g)
  • 70cc milk
  • a small piece of butter
  • 1/2 orange and 1/2 lemon peel (organic)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean

Drain and rinse the wheat, put it in a pot with milk, butter, sugar, orange and lemon grated peel and vanilla; stir and cook for 10 minutes, until you get a thick, creamy mass. Let it cool.

For cream filling:

  • 180g ricotta cheese
  • 130g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp orange flower natural aroma
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 50g candied fruits (cedar, orange and pumpkin if you find it)

Beat ricotta and sugar until shiny; whisk egg whites to have a meringue and store it in the fridge; add yolks to the ricotta and whisk; then add the wheat filling (discard vanilla bean), orange flower aroma, cinnamon and candied fruits; finally add meringue with a spatula.

Pre-heat the oven at 180°C; roll the dough onto a baking paper foil (3-4 mm thickness) and lay it onto a round, 24cm diameter baking dish (the best would be an aluminium one), previously greased and sparkled with flour; cut the exceeding dough. Fill in with the cream, cut the remaining dough in stripes and lay them on the cream. Bake for about 50 minutes and leave it for a day before eating it, if you can! If you prepare it today, it will be perfect for Pasquetta (Holy Monday). Again, all of my Best Wishes for a Joyful Easter day!