Thyme

Pastiera Napoletana

by Thyme Recipes 29 Mar 18

Pastiera Napoletana is an Italian Easter cake, traditionally made with wheat grains that are soaked in milk fragranced with spices and orange blossom water on Good Friday, baked with eggs and ricotta in a pastry shell the next day and then set aside to rest until Easter Sunday.  Across Naples many kitchens will start the process earlier to allow the ‘cake’ to stand for longer.  You can of course make and eat it all in one day … it’s very tempting as the smell as it comes out of the oven is extraordinary but the longer you leave it the more the flavours will intensify.  We have used rice in our recipe, it is lighter if not as traditional, and the substitution won’t upset any of your Italian friends.

Ingredients

For the pastry:

For the filling:

Serves 6
20 cm flan tin with removable base
Oven - 160°C/ 325°F/Gas mark 3

Method

For the pastry:

  1. Combine flour, sugar and butter together in a mixer and pulse until you have what resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the egg yolks and mix to a dough.
  3. Wrap in cling-film and refrigerate.

For the filling:

  1. Place the rice, milk, butter and lemon zest in a pan and slowly bring to a boil.
  2. Turn it down very low and allow to cook for approx. 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes like a risotto.
  3. When cooked, place on a tray to cool.
  4. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale.
  5. Gently whisk in the ricotta then stir in the cooked rice, candied peel, orange blossom water and vanilla.

For the pastiera:

  1. Roll the pastry and press into the edges and bottom of the flan tin. Keep the trimmings for your lattice.
  2. Pour the filling into the prepared tart shells.
  3. Roll out the excess pastry and cut into 1 cm strips.
  4. Place strips on top to form a lattice.
  5. Bake the tart in the oven for 1 hour.