Neapolitan pastiera: traditional Italian recipe for Easter
I love discovering new recipes, especially if they are traditional and are as delicious as this Neapolitan pastiera recipe. I recommend you prepare it well in advance, even the day before, so that the flavors settle and you can enjoy this exquisite bite as tradition recommends. Despite being a dessert that is served at Easter, its origin is pagan and is linked to mythology.
According to legend, the beautiful Partenope mermaid lived in the Gulf of Naples and every spring she emerged from the waters to greet the inhabitants of that area, to whom she gave her beautiful songs. To celebrate it, the Neapolitans created this cake, served by the seven most beautiful girls in the place and made with the basic ingredients of Neapolitan pastries: flour (symbol of the country's wealth), ricotta (in tribute to the shepherds and their flocks) , wheat boiled in milk (a test of the kingdom of the gods), orange blossom water (to pay homage to the aromas of the earth), eggs (symbol of the renewal of life), spices (in consideration of the most distant countries ) and sugar (to represent the sweet song of the beautiful mermaid).
IngredientsFor 8 people
- Round foil shortcrust pastry 2
- Wheat grain (or rice) 200 g
- Butter at room temperature 20 g
- Ricotta cheese 250 g
- Sugar 100 g
- Egg white 3
- Yolk 2
- Milk 1250 ml
- Orange blossom water 20 ml
- Citrus jam 100 g
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Lemon 02
- Cinnamon stick 1
- Icing sugar to decorate
How to make Neapolitan pastieraDifficulty: medium
- Total time 2 h 30 m
- Elaboration 1 h 30 m
- Cooking 1 hour
- Repose 8 h
The night before, we soaked the wheat grain. The next day, in the morning, we strain it and simmer it in a liter of milk, with the skin of a lemon and the cinnamon stick, for one hour. After this time the milk will have evaporated (you have to watch the cooking so that it does not burn).
We remove the lemon peel and the cinnamon stick.In the same pot, add the remaining quarter of a liter of milk and butter and let it boil very slowly until it thickens. Remove from the heat and crush with the mixer to make it creamier. We reserve.
We preheat the oven to 180ºC. We line a 22 cm diameter deep pan with baking paper, grease it and spread one of the shortcrust pastry packages on the base. We cover it with another sheet of baking paper, we distribute on it some legumes (lentils, rice, chickpeas) and bake it for about ten minutes.
Meanwhile, we prepare the filling by beating the yolks with the sugar, ricotta, zest of one lemon, ground cinnamon, orange blossom water and citrus jam. We add the cream of wheat and mix. In a separate bowl, mount the egg whites until stiff and incorporate them into the previous mixture with enveloping movements.
Remove the legumes from the mold and add the filling. With the other sheet of shortcrust pastry we cut strips and cover them with the cake, forming a lattice. It is important to seal the edge well so that the cake does not open during baking. We bake about an hour. Let cool and sprinkle with ground sugar.