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Pastiera Napoletana

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Pastiera Napoletana

The real recipe from a Pastri Shop in Naples

Cuisine:

    When food and cooking are the real essence of a community

    • Serves 8
    • Hard

    Directions

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    Back from Naples I tried to make some typical recipes. The first I made was “Gnocchi alla Sorrentina” but this one is somethink that requires more time and patient. It takes you one or two days to appreciate its inner flavour…so today is the day in which you can enjoy its taste.

    A traditional dessert you will find on every Neapolitan table, Pastiera is synonymous with Easter . Just like there would be no Thanksgiving without a turkey in the States, there is no Easter in Naples without Casatiello and Pastiera. A ricotta and cooked wheat pie, Pastiera is a cheesecake if you will, but on steroids. Made several days in advance, the process is a bit difficult to master and very time consuming, but it is a true labor of love for the Neapolitan cook. A recipe passed down from one generation to the next, few Neapolitans would serve Easter dinner without it.

     

    The best cooks do everything from scratch, from soaking and cooking the wheat to making the pastry. The wheat is soaked for two or three days, cooked and then combined with a mixture of milk, butter, sugar, lemon zest, and cinnamon and cooked again until the milk reduces. The ricotta is drained, left to sit over night and then mixed with sugar, eggs, orange blossom water, and candied citron and orange peel. These two mixtures are then combined and baked in a short pastry. The best pastries are made by hand and use a combination of butter and lard and the zest of one lemon (a little secret you won’t find in most recipes online). There are short cuts of course, you can use Gran Cotto – cooked wheat in a jar or can (which many Neapolitan cooks are now using) and you can get a ready made pastry dough – but where would be the fun in that. If you want the true experience you’ll have to do it from scratch.

     

    Ingredients

    For the Pastry
    600 grams Flour
    6 Eggs
    200 grams Sugar
    200 grams Butter
    Pinch of Cinnamon
    Grated lemon peel

    For the Wheat Mixture
    500 grams cooked wheat
    500 grams whole milk
    50 grams butter
    1 tsp Sugar
    Grated lemon peel
    Pinch of Cinnamon
    Pinch of Salt

    For the Filling
    Wheat Mixture
    500 Grams Ricotta
    10 Eggs
    500 Grams Sugar
    60 ml Orange Blossom Water
    60 ml Aroma Millefiore
    1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
    Dash of Cinnamon
    Candied Citron

    Steps

    1
    Done

    Cook The Wheat Mixture

    Combine in a saucepan, 500 gr. of cooked wheat with 500 gr. of whole milk, 50 gr butter, 1 tsp of sugar, 1 grated lemon peel, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of salt . Bring to the boil and cook over medium high heat until it becomes very creamy. Refrigerate overnight.

    2
    Done

    Make the pastry

    In a large bowl combine 600 gr. of flour, 200 gr. of sugar, grate in a peel of one lemon and add 7 eggs and 2 yolks, , 200 gr. butter and a pinch of cinnamon
    Bring the mixture together with your hands until it forms a soft dough
    Turn the dough onto a floured surface, knead well, about 10 mins, adding flour as needed until the dough is soft and elastic. Let rest 1/2 hour

    3
    Done

    Prepare the filling

    Separate 10 eggs yolks in one bowl, whites in another
    Add 500 gr. of sugar to the egg yolks and beat well with a mixer
    Beat egg whites well with a mixer until thick. Break 500 gr. ricotta up a bit with a fork and then add the ricotta to the egg whites and beat well.
    Add the egg yolk and sugar mixture to the egg whites and beat until well blended. Add the wheat mixture and beat well. Blend in 1 tsp of vanilla extract , cinnamon, and 60 ml. orange blossom water
    Add the candied citron and mix through by hand

    4
    Done

    Assemble the Pastiera

    Grease the bottom and sides of a large spring form pan. Divide the dough in half, roll 1/2 of the dough out until it is slightly larger then the diameter of the pan. Roll the dough up onto the rolling pin and gently slide it into the pan.
    Press down around the bottom and the sides. Pour the Pastiera filling into the pan, roll the other half of the dough out for the lattice top. Cut into even strips with a knife or a pastry cutter, evenly place a row of strips across the pie
    Add a second row of evenly spaced strips either perpendicular or on at an angle to the first row
    Bake the Pastiera at 100°c for one hour, turn the oven up to 150°c and bake another hour or until a toothpick inserted into the pie comes clean. Turn the oven off and let the Pastiera sit in the oven for another 15 minutes.
    Remove the Pastiera to a cooling rack and let cool for several hours before removing it from the pan.

    Note – If you use a large enough spring form pan, the Pastiera mixture will not completely fill the pan. You can bring the dough and lattice strips up the side of the pan and cut the excess off after the Pastiera is baked.

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