Come Easter time, making Pastiera with our Grandad is one of ours. And yes, you know we are grinning from ear to ear as we are writing this, that warm, fuzzy feeling sending waves of happiness through our bodies.
Pastiera is a traditional Italian Easter cake, originating from the region of Naples. Legend has it that it was created by Italian nuns in a Neapolitan convent. The nuns wanted a cake to symbolize the resurrection; the eggs represent new life, the candid lemons and oranges represent Spring time.
What you will need:
For the dough:
1/4 stick butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
Tsp vanilla (Or you know, how ever much you fancy. :p We often add a dash more)
For the filling:
2 cups of grain. (barley) We buy ours already prepared from Plateroti's Gourmet, you can find the same one here.
8 cups ricotta cheese
3 egg whites
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 Tub of lemon and orange candid peel. (We can't find that here in America, so we peeled our own orange and lemon. Also, this pick shows chocolate as we made one with orange chocolate when we couldn't find the peels. It still taste amazing but you can't beat the candid peel. The second one we made with our homemade peels, just tastes like home and as it's supposed to be.)
For the dough:
Pour flour in a medium sized mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and add your eggs, vanilla, butter and sugar.
Use your fingers to mix everything together until you form a ball of dough.
Leave to chill while you make your filling.
For the filling:
In a large mixing bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar, grain, zest, ricotta and vanilla until combined.
In a stand mixer, or with a hand held whisk, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Add egg whites to the grain mixture and gently combine.
Split chilled dough in to two pieces. Roll out dough to fit pie dish. Save the other dough to make your lattice topping.
Pour grain mixture into dish. Roll out second piece of dough and cut in to strips to place on top.
Cook in 375 degree, pre heated oven, for 1 hour. Cover top with foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until nice and golden.
Let sit and completely cool before cutting. It is often best served the next day! :)
Oh the squeals of glee that erupted from our mouths upon producing this gorgeous Pastiera from the oven. We're not going to lie, there was running too and quite a bit of jumping on the spot, as we grabbed our phones and shrieked to our sister, over Voxer, that she had to show Nanna and Grandad what we had made, immediately. This is the fourth time we have made this Pastiera without Grandad present and we have to say this is the best yet. It's taken a little practice over the years, but the flavours and consistency of this very Pastiera had us wanting to parcel up a slice and send it home for Grandad to try. We were beyond ecstatic with it.
For us there is no better feeling than spending time in the kitchen, pouring our love in to one of our Grandparents recipes, taking a bite and being transported home. It is honestly everything to us. So, we really hope you enjoyed today's recipe and please let us know if you have ever had Pastiera before or if you plan on giving it a go. :)
Happy Easter weekend.