30 March 2011
FOOD AND WINE
As the Easter approaching I found for you a receipt as old as Italian culture, the Pastiera di Grano
(Wheat Berries Pastry) one of most characteristic and typical Easter cakes from the south, originated from the beautiful city of Naples.
Sweet Easter in Italy
As we all know Italians love their food. And foreigners love Italian food as well. Sundays, Christmas and Easter are perfect occasions to gorge ourselves on delicacies offered by Italian cuisine. As the Easter approaching I found for you a receipt as old as Italian culture, the Pastiera di Grano (Wheat Berries Pastry) one of most characteristic and typical Easter cakes from the south of Italy, originated from the beautiful city of Naples
Thin layer of butter pastry, filled with incredibly smelling concoction of boiled wheat berries, ricotta cheese and candied fruits. All spiced with cinnamon and orange – blossom water. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
Well, here you shall find directions on how to make it. You will need?
What do you need?
This is the list of the ingredients you need to prepare a traditional Neapolitan pastiera. In order to make it more tasty, a lot of chefs recommend to replace 1/2 cup chopped candied citron 1/2 cup chopped candied orange peel, with the same measure of white or brown chocolate chips.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon orange-flower water
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 pound (2 cups) whole-milk ricotta
8 ounces hulled wheat berries from soft wheat
4 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoon orange-flower water
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped candied citron
1/2 cup chopped candied orange peel
Up to 1 cup milk (optional)
How to prepare it?
First of all, leave overnight the wheat in a pan well covered with milk (or water) to soften it.
The dough. In a large bowl place soft butter with confectionary sugar – beat until white and fluffy. While continuing to beat add an egg and yolk – beat until smooth adding a little by time the orange flower
water. Add slowly flour mixed with cinnamon and salt, stirring until blended. Form two discs, one a little larger than the other, wrap in foil and cool in the fridge for at least one hour.
The filling. Drain the soaked grain, put in a pan with water (the grain must be covered) and salt. Cook over a very low fire for about half of an hour, occasionally stirring. When soft drain and place in a large bowl, adding butter and orange zest. Stir well and leave to cool. In another bowl place ricotta, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and orange blossom water. Stir well. Add wheat mixture, citron and orange peel. The mixture is suppose to resemble porridge – if too stiff add some milk.
The pastry. Take from the fridge the larger piece of the dough and roll out into a 15 inch circle. Place into a 9 by 3 inch springform , forming edges. Pour in the filling and smooth the top. Roll out the other piece of dough into 12 inch circle – cut into strips with fluted pastry cutter. Place the ready strips over the pastry top, forming a lattice pattern. Press the edges to seal.
Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees for one and an half of the hour, or until the top is nicely brown. Before serving sprinkle with confectionery sugar.