An Italian Easter tradition
This Pastiera recipe
This is a traditional Italian cake baked during Holy Week to celebrate Easter. Said to have been invented in Naples but is now found on the Easter lunch table throughout Italy.
- 3 cups plain (all purpose) flour plus extra for dusting
- ¾ cup caster sugar superfine
- 7 oz chilled butter chopped (1 ¾ sticks)
- 2 egg yolks from large eggs
- 1 tablespoons iced water more if needed
- 14 ½ oz grano cotto canned
- 1 ⅓ cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta
- 1 ½ cups caster sugar superfine
- 1 tablespoon orange flower water
- 1 grated lemon rind
- 4 eggs separated
- ⅔ cups mixed Italian candied fruit
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Place the grano cotto, milk, butter, 1 tablespoon sugar and vanilla in a saucepan and cook gently over a low heat for about 30 minutes until the mixture is thick and creamy. Cool
- I did mine in the food processor. Place the flour, sugar and butter in the food processor bowl. Blitz in bursts until crumbly. Then add the egg yolks while the motor is running. Drizzle in a little iced water if the dough doesn't come to together and seems a bit dry. Remove from the bowl, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the filling.
Heat the oven to300°F/150°C.
- Beat the ricotta with an electric mixer or by hand until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and mix well. Add acqua di millie fiori, lemon rind, egg yolks, candied fruit, cinnamon and cooled grano cotto mixture. Mix well. In a separate bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into ricotta/grano cotto mixture.
Remove the pastry from refrigerator and roll out and line a 9 1/2 - 10inch (24-26cm) flan pan, which has been greased and floured. Pour in the filling. I had a bit leftover and made a small individual pie. With the leftover pastry cut strips and form the traditional lattice top.
- Bake in the preheated over for about 2 hours. Once cooled dust with icing (powdered) sugar.
- For the candied fruits, I like to use candied cedro and orange peel but any good quality fruit can be used.
- Be sure to prepare this several days before you want to serve it.