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Neapolitan pastiera

Neapolitan pastiera

With the Neapolitan pastiera recipe we create to perfection and bring to the table an Easter dessert typical of the Neapolitan tradition!

The original Neapolitan pastiera recipe is perfect if you want to bring a delicious and typical Italian dessert to the table. Although it is not exactly a very simple dessert to make, you will see that with a little attention (and practice) you will be able to obtain excellent results.

The wheat pastiera, in addition to being a truly exquisite delicacy, is usually given as a gift as a wish for good prosperity during the Easter holidays. According to tradition, in fact, a food like wheat is auspicious, and in this recipe it is certainly made more welcome by the scent of spring brought by orange blossoms.

What do you think, shall we get to work? Then follow us into the kitchen and prepare the Neapolitan pastiera with us!

Neapolitan pastiera
Neapolitan pastiera

How to make Neapolitan pastiera: original recipe

The preparation of this Easter dessert is divided into different phases , which we have separated for convenience:

How to make cooked wheat for pastiera: recipe

Nowadays, with the rhythms of modern life, it is very difficult for anyone to make cooked wheat at home due to its very long preparation (pastiera, in itself, is certainly not a quick cake!). However, if you are unable to buy it, or if out of simple curiosity you want to make it with your own hands, we will explain how to do it. You need:

  • 200 g of wheat
  • water to taste
  1. Get about 200 g of wheat and leave it to soak for about 5 days, changing the water every evening.
  2. Take a saucepan and add enough water to double the volume of the grain and turn on the heat.
  3. When the water comes to the boil, rinse the wheat and pour it inside. Cover and simmer for an hour .
  4. After this time, the water will have been absorbed, if the grain has absorbed all the liquid and become soft you can turn off the heat, otherwise continue cooking.
  5. Once the wheat is ready, remove it from the saucepan and, before proceeding with the filling of the pastiera, weigh the correct quantity (400 g).

Shortcrust pastry

If you wish, you can start with some ready-made pastry (in which case you will need two rolls), but we recommend making it at home . Of the ingredients already indicated, you will need:

  • 300 g of flour
  • 150 g butter (or lard)
  • 2 eggs
  • 170 g sugar
  • the zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 pinch of salt
Preparation of shortcrust pastry

1. Let's start preparing the shortcrust pastry immediately: place the flour with the butter in pieces on a pastry board, after leaving it at room temperature for at least an hour, and work the dough by adding the eggs, the sugar, the lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Remember that the shortcrust pastry should be worked as little as possible and that your hands should remain cold .

Shortcrust pastry

2. Wrap in cling film and place the dough in the fridge for at least an hour , although an entire night would be even better.

To go a little faster , you can also prepare the shortcrust pastry with the help of the mixer. In this case, put the same ingredients described above into the container and operate the device until a ball forms.

To delve deeper into the origins of this preparation, here is our in-depth analysis on shortcrust pastry for pastiera (did you know that tradition calls for the use of lard?).


Now let's move on to the filling part , nothing difficult using the classic pre-cooked wheat, and also quick enough to prepare a quick and easy Neapolitan pastiera.

Of the ingredients already indicated, you will need:

  • 300 g of pre-cooked wheat
  • 20 g of flour
  • 350 g of sheep's ricotta
  • 100 g of sugar
  • 50 g of butter
  • 160 ml of milk
  • 100 g of candied fruit
  • 3 eggs and 1 yolk
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 vial of orange flower water
  • cinnamon to taste
Filling for pastiera

1. For the filling, start with the cream of wheat. Place a saucepan on the heat and pour in the wheat , milk , butter, a piece of orange and lemon zest.
2. Stir continuously and cook in this way for 20-25 minutes or until it reaches the boil.
3. When it has just come to the boil and the cream is well blended, turn off the heat, remove the citrus zest and pour the cream of wheat into a baking dish , leaving it to cool. When it is lukewarm you can decide whether to leave it grainy, blend it entirely with the blender or Only a part.
4. While the wheat cools, prepare the ricotta cream by placing it to drain in a colander for a few hours, or squeeze it well into a clean cloth.
5. Once squeezed you will have to mix it with the sugar and then sift it by passing it through a special sieve with small holes.
6. At this point add the eggs and yolk one at a time, mixing with a whisk.
7. Now add the cooked wheat with milk , candied fruit, orange blossoms and, if desired, a pinch of cinnamon to taste, to the ricotta and egg mixture.
8. Place the filling in the fridge to rest and move on to composing and cooking the Easter cake.

Assembling and baking the cake

Roll out shortcrust pastry

1. Roll out the shortcrust pastry, keeping aside about 1/4 of the total. Make a circle about 30 centimeters in diameter and half a centimeter thick. For a 24/26 cm cake pan it will be fine.

Filling cake

2. Take a cake tin, lined with baking paper or buttered and floured and place the dough inside. Use a fork to make holes in the bottom of the dough and pour in the filling, leveling it with a pan licker .

Complete the pastiera and bake it

3. With the dough you kept aside earlier, make strips about one centimeter wide. Arrange them on the cake crossing them to form lozenges, then put the cake in the oven.
4. The pastiera must be cooked slowly, which is why we recommend cooking it on the bottom shelf of the oven and leaving it for around 90 minutes in a static oven at a temperature of 170°C . In some cases even ten minutes more or less (it all depends on the power of your oven and, to understand this, all you have to do is try, try and try).


Store in the fridge for a maximum of about 3 days , inside a special container with a lid. Once it's ready you can freeze it in the freezer , the same goes for raw but completely assembled.

Serve it at the end of your Easter menu : it will be a huge success! What do you think about trying the rice pastiera variant too? Finally, those who own it can try making pastiera with the Thermomix .

Read also
Easter desserts: traditional Italian recipes

Tips and variations of Neapolitan pastiera

– Furthermore, tradition dictates that this cake should be made on Holy Thursday and that it should not be consumed before Easter : in this way the flavors can blend perfectly.

– Another important point of this recipe also called wheat pizza, is the cooking of the pastiera. In fact, every oven is different: for some it may be necessary to lower the temperature or cover it with aluminum foil (if you notice that it risks burning). In this case we cannot advise you to do the toothpick test to understand when it is cooked because it is a fairly moist cake. If you want a little trick, however, you will understand that it is ready when the central part no longer moves by shaking it slightly.

– In the traditional recipe no cream is added, but according to some it gives an unmissable aroma so, if you want to try, here is the pastiera with custard .

– Not everyone loves candied fruit , so if you wish, you can also omit it (or replace it with chocolate chips).

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