Pastiera Napoletana

We were in Naples, Italy while they prepared for Easter 2013.  The city was alive with excitement, preparing for various festivals and preparing assortments of baked delights for the holiday.  We went to a local bakery, and I enjoyed the most delicious pastiera cake I’ve ever eaten.  In fact, the slice of cake I enjoyed was from the largest pastiera cake I’ve ever seen in my life (pictured below).  The slice missing was mine!



8 oz. Wheat Grain, Husks Removed (Purchase presoaked if possible)


6 Cups Milk

Grated Zest of 1 Lemon

½ Tsp. Salt


2 Tsp. Cinnamon

1 Tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

Grated Zest of 1 Orange

2 ½ Cups Ricotta

1 Cup Sugar

4 Eggs

1 Cup Candied Citrus Peel, Chopped

Pastry Dough:

1 ½ Cups Flour

½ Cup Sugar

½ Tsp. Salt

4 Tbsp. Butter (room temperature)

2 Eggs

Dusting: Powdered Sugar (also known as confectioners sugar)



Soak the wheat grain in cold water for 3 days, changing the water every day (if you purchased presoaked, skip that step).  Drain the wheat grain and place in a pot over the stove, adding the milk, lemon zest and salt.  Heat over very low heat for approx. 3 ½ hours.  Drain the wheat grain and place in a large bowl.  Add the cinnamon, vanilla and grated orange zest.  Place in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight if possible so flavors can meld. When ready to finish the filling, add the ricotta, 1 cup of sugar, 4 eggs and the candied citrus peel.  Return mixture to the refrigerator until ready to use.  Pastry Dough: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and room temperature butter,  Mix until the butter is mixed in well.  Add the eggs and combine mixture to form the dough.  Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for approx. 1-2 hours.  When ready, split the pastry dough and roll out the pastry dough onto a floured surface.  Place one portion of the dough on the bottom of a well greased pie plate.  Pour the ricotta, wheat grain filling over the pie dough.  Roll out the remaining pastry dough into strips and cover with a lattice pattern.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for approx. 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is set.  Allow to cool and dust with powdered sugar if desired.