Good morning and happy Easter!
As promised, here I am sharing with you my family's recipe of one the most traditional Neapolitan cake: pastiera!
In a previous post (I think from last year) I had already written some curiosities about this amazing cake but now it's time for you to try and make it (in Naples you can find it at any time of the year the pastry shops)!
My first memory of this cake is my dad making it in steps (because he was busy with work) few days in advance. And even if, as a child, I didn't like it (I am still not a fan of candied fruits) I cannot forget the amazing perfume of pastiere once they were baked and just out of the oven in the morning.
This recipe requires quite a few preparations, not difficult overall, but the entire procedure is just a bit long... So take an all evening to make sure you have plenty of time to do it with no rush!
Here we go!
500 gr sheep ricotta
400 gr grano cotto (cooked wheat for pastier)
515 gr caster sugar
200 gr icing sugar
Candied orange, cedar, pumpkin
Neroli extract (to taste)
1 shot of Strega liquor
1 L milk
530 gr plain flour
30 gr corn flour
200 gr lard/butter
25 gr butter
Cinnamon (to taste)
Salt (a pinch)
1. Cook the grano cotto in 500 gr of milk with 25 gr of butter, lemon zest (cut some stripes of zest and add them in the milk). Bring it to the boil and cool down once cooked (it needs to be dense).
2. Prepare the pastry cream with: 500 gr of milk + 120-150 gr egg yolks + 90 gr caster sugar + 30 gr plain four + 30 gr corn flour + 1 vanilla pods (see method here) and let it cool down
3. Take 5 eggs and separate the yolks from the white part. Whisk the egg white in a KA until hard peak. Whisk the yolks with 75 gr of caster sugar
4. Cut in small dices the candied fruits
5. Mix together the ricotta + 350 gr of caster sugar and sieve it
6. Make the sweet pastry with these amount of ingredients: 500 gr plain flour + 250 gr strutto (as in the traditional recipe) or butter + 200 gr icing sugar + 1 lemon zest + 2 eggs + pinch of salt
In a big pan mix together 1. + 2. + 3. + 4. + 5. and add 1 shot of Strega liquor, some drops of Neroli extract (this essence is really strong, so be careful to add a drop at the time)
Roll the sweet pastry to the desired eight and line it in the thins (the side of the thins must be at least 3,5 - 4cm
Add the mix until it reaches 1 cm from the top
With the left over of the sweet pastry, cut some stripes and place them diagonally and crossing each others (they form a sort of rhombus shape) on the top of the cream (in the original recipe there must be 7 stripes).
Bake in preheated oven at 140 C for 3 hours until the pastiera looks golden brown.
Dust with icing sugar if you wish and eat at least 1 day after baked.
As I said in my other post, no Neapolitan home would be complete on Easter day without this rich, perfumed cake on the table... Even during this unreal lockdown days, I can see from Instagram that everybody here in Naples is looking for a way to have it on the table!
I haven't make mine this year, but I will enjoy the one of my dad... Which is, I am pretty sure, better than mine!