Pastiera is a typical Neapolitan cake, one of the most loved both in Italy and abroad. There are many versions of this delicious cake, but the most famous is definitely the Neapolitan one.
The pastry is crumbly and elastic and the cream inside is a perfect balance of sweetness and aromas; indeed for the preparation of the Neapolitan Pastiera you always need lemon and orange peel, and a pinch of cinnamon.
Cook the wheat with milk, zest of 1 orange and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir continuously until the milk is completely absorbed for about 10 minutes. Let it cool. In a large bowl, work the ricotta cheese with sugar until you obtain a soft and smooth mixture.
Add the eggs, the yolk, a pinch of salt and the zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon. Mix with a wooden spoon. Also add the candied fruit in small cubes and orange flower’s water.
Finally, add the cold wheat and stir until a smooth cream is obtained. Let it rest in the fridge. Meanwhile, prepare the shortcrust pastry: work together butter and sugar, then add the eggs, the orange peel and finaly the flour. Knead until you get a compact dough, then wrap it in the foil and place in the fridge for at least half an hour, the more you leave it the better is.
As soon as the pastry is very cold, spread 2/3 of it and cover a non-stick cake pan. Pour the filling inside, then roll out the remaining pastry and make strips. Decorate it forming rhombuses. Cook the pastiera in a hot oven at 180 degrees for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let it cool at room temperature for at least 12 hours. After a couple of days you can keep it in the fridge.
With this amount of ingredients you can use a round cake pan of 24 cm diameter.
If you have time you can prepare the shortcrust pastry the day before and leave it one night in the fridge (or you can freeze it for some days and defrost the night before in the fridge). The more it stays in the fridge, the more will you will taste the fragrance of aromas.
The original recipe includes both wheat and candied fruit in pieces but, if desired, you can blend the filling thus creating a smooth and equally good cream.