The Neapolitan Pastiera is a dessert from Campania typical of the Easter period. This dessert is similar to the tart, with which perhaps it shares a common origin.
Legend has it that the mermaid Partenope, symbol of the city of Naples, lived in the gulf between Posillipo and the Vesuvius vulcan, and that each spring she emerged to greet the people who lived in the gulf, cheering them with songs of joy.
Once her voice was so melodious and sweet that all the inhabitants were so fascinated to thank her with the most beautiful nature gifts from the neighborhood villages : flour, ricotta, eggs, soft wheat, orange blossom water, spices and sugar.
The mermaid placed the precious offerings at the feet of the gods, they gathered and mixed all the ingredients with divine arts, transforming them into the first Pastiera, which gently exceeded the singing of the same siren.
SHORTCRUST PASTRY INGREDIENTS
- 300.gr flour
- 150 gr.butter
- 130 gr. sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 lemon peel
- 1 pinch salt
Grate the peel of the lemon.
Mix the flour with the eggs yolks. Slowly add butter (not too cold), sugar, salt and the grated lemon peel.
Work the dough with your hands (alternatively you can use a planetaria or a cucchiarella).
Make a ball with the dough and place it 30 minute in the fridge before to use.
While the dough is resting prepare the filling.
- 500 gr. ricotta cheese
- 400 gr.sugar
- 250 gr. grains
- 200 gr. candied lemon and orange peel (square)
- 50 gr. butter
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 ampoule orange flower aroma
Put the grain in water for three days changing water every day. The third day boil the corn for 15 minutes.(Alternatively you can use pre-boiled grains).
Put the grains in a pot with milk and let boil, add salt, butter the lemon peel and the cinnamon. Cook until the milk is completely absorbed.
In a bowl place the ricotta cheese, add the sugar and the 6 egg yolks. Deeply mix with a cucchiarella from the bottom to the front. Add the orange flower aroma and the candied.
When the pastry is soft and creamy, pour in the cooked grains and mix again. Whip the white eggs and add to the dough carefully and slowly (to avoid to loose oxigen).
Take 1/3 of the shortcrust pastry and take it aside.
With a mattarello, roll out the other part of the pastry 1 cm high. Put the big part in a buttered and floured rounded bake-try. Pour the stuffed over the pastry and level with a cucchiarella.
Roll out the remaining pastry and make stripes 1,5 cm. large. Make a net with the stripes over the cache.
Close the bords an cook in preheated oven for 45 minutes at 200 degrees.
The Pastiera is perfect to serve the day after.