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PASTIERA - Sweetmeat of Naples

PASTIERA - Sweetmeat of Naples

Neapolitan speciality of the Easter period
Recipe for 8-10 servings

    For the Short Pastry:
  • 1 cup, 4 tbs. flour
  • 5 oz. butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 3 egg yolks

  • For the Filling:
  • 1 cup whole-wheat grain
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 qts. milk
  • 3 oz. candied orange and lemon peel
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 pinch vanilla
  • 1 lemon rind
  • salt
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs. orange-flower water
  • 1 oz. butter
  • 1 oz. confectioner's sugar

Knead the flour, butter, sugar and eggs together quickly. Make a ball of the dough and let rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

To prepar the filling: soak the grain for about a week, changing the water every day. Drain and boil with fresh water for 15 mins. Drain and put back in the pot with milk, lemon rind, cinnamon, vanilla, a pinch of salt, and 1 tbs. of sugar. Bring to a boil, lower and cook over low heat until the milk is absorbed. Remove and discard the lemon rind. Sift the ricotta into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and beat until creamy. Add the 2 yolks, the whole-wheat grain, diced candied fruits, grated lemon peel, and the orange-flower water. Fold in the beaten egg whites.

Grease a 12-in. baking pan with butter and dust with sugar. Line with 3/4 of the pastry. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into strips. Arrange the strips over the filling in a lattice design. Brush the strips of dough with egg yolk. Heat the oven to 375║F and bake the cake for 1 1/2 hours, until the filling has set and the crust is golden brown. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar before serving.
Pastiera is best if eaten a day after it is cooked, and it keeps in the refrigerator for a week. In Italy, grain is sold pre-cooked and softened, sealed in plastic bags.