Pastiera Napoletana | The Traditional Recipe Neapolitan Cake

Traditional Easter cake which is a firm favorite throughout Italy. A flaky crust with a creamy and flavorful ricotta and berries filling.

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If you have been to Italy over Easter Holiday, you must have heard, seen, taste the famous Neapolitan Cake!

Originally from Naples, it has become a firm favourite throughout Italy during the Easter period and one of the most delicious thing you can even eat.

Whole wheat berries are cooked in milk until creamy and mixed with ricotta, sugar, eggs, candied citrus and orange blossom essence for the filling. It is absolutely delicious.

Last year I shared with you a “fit and healthy” version. This year I want to go all in with the traditional recipe: full of butter, eggs, sugar and all the juice stuff!

Make sure to have a couple of days are, because that’s the time you will need to properly make the pastiera. There are steps and precise timing you will need to resect in order to get a flaky crust, that doesn’t break when baking, and a flavorful filling.

Ingredients (makes 2 cakes of 26 cm):

for the crust:

  • 660 g type 0 flour
  • 330 g butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • zest from 2 lemons
  • 4 drops of concentrated orange blossom extract

for the ricotta cream:

  • 600 g ricotta
  • 500 g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 140 g candid citrus
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp concentrated orange blossom essence

for the berry cream:

  • 600 g cooked berries
  • 400 g whole fat milk
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 50 g butter

One day before baking the pastiera, you will need to prepare the dough by creaming softened butter with sugar, lemon zest and orange blossom extract. Whip it all up until creamy

Next add flour, salt and baking powder and mix just enough for the mixture to come together. It will stick to your hands, that’s totally normal! Wrap it up in plastic paper and refrigerate for 24h.

Next mix ricotta and sugar, cover with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 24h. This time is needed for the sugar to get completely melted into the ricotta.

The next day, take out the dough out of the fridge, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a 3 mm circle. Place it in you buttered and floured 26cm baking pan. Roll out the remaining dough and cut it into 7 1-1.5cm thick strips. Transfer into your fridge.

In a soucepan cook for about 25 min the berries with milk, butter, zest of oranges and lemons. You will need to stir constantly. Once creamy turn off the heat, remove the citrus peels and blend about 100g of the mixture. Let is cool down completely.

Take out the ricotta from your fridge and blend it until creamy and smooth. Fold in the ground cinnamon

Add in the eggs, one at the time, and the yolks. Next add the orange blossom extract.
Fold in the cooked berries and the candid citrus

Pour the filling into the crust shell leaving about 7mm from the edge and decorate the top placing 4 of the strip of dough across the top of the pastiera in one direction and then place the other 3 diagonally to create lozenge shapes.

Trim the edges of of the strips against the edge of the tin and place the pasteria in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Bake for about 90 min in pre-heated oven at 150C. Turn off the heat and leave the pastiera inside the oven with the door slightly open for about 30 min.

When the pastiera is fully cooled down, dust the top with some powdered sugar, cover with plastic wrap and wait at least 2 to 3 days before serving it.

Pastiera can be stored at room temperature for up to 10 days. Do not place it in the fridge.

If you make this recipe, tag me on IG @the_fit_mediterranean

Love

-Dani

About the author:

An Italian living in China with a strong passion for cooking! Browse my 'left-overs' session for many tasty grub!. Follow her on Twitter / Facebook.