Pastiera Napoletana

Serves 8
2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

Shortcrust pastry

  • 300g of plain flour
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 150g of unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 150ml of water
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Filling

  • 350g of grano cotto, or Arborio rice
  • 250ml of milk
  • 30g of unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 300g of sugar
  • 350g of ricotta
  • 40g of candied citron
  • 40g of candied peel, orange
  • 20g of orange blossom water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla paste

Method

1
Begin by making the pastry. Place the flour, sugar and butter in a bowl and rub together with your fingers until it has the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the egg and mix with your hands until combined
2
Add the water a little at a time, stirring well, until the mixture comes together to form a dough – you may not need to use all the water
3
Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film, and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to chill
4
Meanwhile, make the filling. Place the grano cotto in a saucepan and add the milk, butter and lemon zest. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring all the time until cooked – this will take about 20–25 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely
5
Place the eggs in a bowl with the sugar and whisk until the eggs turn pale
6
Place the ricotta cheese in a blender and blitz until it has the consistency of whipped cream. Add it to the egg and sugar mixture, folding it in with a spatula
7
Add the cooled wheat mixture, candied peel, orange flower water and the vanilla bean paste into the ricotta mixture. Stir together until combined and put to one side
8
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3 and butter a 24cm x 4cm cake tin
9
Dust a clean surface with icing sugar and evenly roll out the pastry, carefully lining the cake tin. Prick the bottom with a fork and pour in the filling, trimming the pastry from the edges of the tin to leave a neat edge. Reserve any spare pastry to decorate and form into a ball
10
Roll out the ball into an even layer. Using a pasta wheel, cut 8 strips long enough to be placed across the cake tin. Place 4 of them across the top of the pastiera in one direction and then place the other 4 diagonally to create lozenge shapes
11
Trim the edges of of the strips against the edge of the tin and place the pasteria in the oven to bake for 1 hour. After this time, cover the top with a piece of tin foil and cook for another 30 minutes. Allow it to cool completely in the tin before carefully turning it out
12
Serve the pastiera cold with a good quality Italian espresso coffee. It makes a lovely Easter breakfast, accompaniment to afternoon tea or dessert.