Pastiera Napoletana (Easter cake)

A traditional sweet tart made with ricotta and cooked wheat.
  • - icing sugar, to serve
  • - pinch ground cinnamon
  • - 140g candied fruit
  • - 1 tbsp orange flower water
  • - 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • - 4 eggs
  • - 400g caster sugar
  • - 500g ricotta
  • - zest of 1 lemon
  • - 75ml milk, plus extra for brushing
  • - 20g butter
  • - 840g Gran Cotto cooked wheat
  • - 200g flour, plus extra for dusting
  • - 3 eggs
  • - 200g butter
  • - 200g sugar

How to prepare:

For the pastry, put the sugar, butter and eggs in a bowl and beat until smooth. Slowly add the flour until all the ingredients combine to form a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm, transfer to the fridge and leave to rest for 20 minutes while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Put the cooked wheat, butter, milk and half the grated lemon zest into a pan. Heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture has a creamy consistency. Leave to cool.

In a bowl combine the ricotta and sugar, eggs, vanilla and orange flower water using a electric mixer. Next, add the candied peel, remaining lemon zest and the cinnamon.

Roll out the pastry onto a floured work surface. Line and grease a 25cm diameter springform cake tin. Carefully lift the pastry into the tin, trimming and folding over the edges to make a neat rim (keep the pastry trimmings).

Combine the cooled wheat and ricotta mixtures and stir well. Carefully pour into the pastry case. Using the pastry trimmings, roll them and cut into strips to make a criss-cross design on top of the cake.

Carefully brush the pastry rim and strips with milk, transfer to the oven and bake for about 1 hr and 15 minutes.

When the Pastiera is cooked, transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar to serve.