Pastiera, a sensational wheat tart

Preparation: 3hs (if you use uncooked wheat than you need to soak it in cold water for 8hs before starting with the recipe)

Quantity: 3 Tarts

Difficulty: difficult but rewarding

There is no Easter Sunday without Pastiera in my family and be aware not only one but several! Yes, you might think we are crazy but every family prepares many tarts in one afternoon and exchanges them as a gift for Easter. And every year invariably a pastiera contest takes place. Someone has to do the hard job to taste them all, I gladly volunteer.

Pastiera nowadays symbolises Resurrection, but literally it means Pasta di Ieri, Pasta of yesterday. In ancient times they use to make it adding to the pasta some ricotta, wheat and sugar. Nowadays the process is slightly longer and it requires several hours. Below the quantity for three tarts, it is a long process and in the end you will be glad you made some more, plus the tradition is to give them to someone you love!

Mamma Flora’s tip: every family has its own recipe but today I want to share with you zia Rosa’s one. Last week I visited my family and she made sure I had an entire pastiera for myself, how spoiled! Below you can find her recipe but the fun part is to adjust it to your taste, adding more or less of some ingredients. The game is to make it your family tradition!

Don’t be intimidated by length the result is sensationally rewarding!

Ingredients:

Make sure you have fresh unwaxed oranges and lemon at least three each, we will use them in several steps.

For the pastry:

  • 1kg di flour
  • 400gr sugar
  • 400gr butter
  • 8 eggs

Wheat preparation:

  • 700gr uncooked wheat (you can also use already cooked wheat, find it in some Italian delis)
  • 100gr butter
  • 750ml milk
  • 4-5 tablespoons sugar
  • A pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 1kg ricotta
  • 1kg sugar
  • Few drops of orange blossom flower water
  • 100 gr candied cedar cubes
ricotta-wheat-lemon-orange-peel

For the custard cream:

  • 4 yolks and 4 entire eggs
  • 1l milk
  • 8 tablespoons sifted flour
  • 8 tablespoons sugar
milk-sugar-flour-eggs-lemon

Method:

Wheat preparation: if you use an already cooked wheat you can skip this step

  • Pour the wheat in a bowl and cover with enough cold water, let it soak for the night. Cover the bowl with cling film
  • In the morning drain the wheat and pour it in a pot with new cold water (make sure you cover the wheat by 5cm)
  • Place the pot on medium-high heat and let it boil. From the moment it boils, let it cook for 20min. Make sure you stir it often
  • Check the consistency of the wheat as per your taste, it depends if you want the full grain in the tart or if you want it to dissolve more with into filling
  • Cover and let it rest for 3-4hours hours without any excess of water

Custard:

  • In a pot pour 1l of milk with the zest of half a lemon at medium-high heat until it boils then turn to low heat
  • In a bowl place 4 yolks and 4 entire eggs with 8 tablespoons of sugar and whisk it until creamy
  • Add the sifted flour to the mixture, whisking, and make sure there are no lumps
  • Add some of the warm milk into the bowl with eggs and flour and whisk it until homogenous
  • Then add the mixture back in the pot with the rest of the warm milk and whisk it until it becomes creamy at low heat
  • Once ready place the mixture in a cold bowl so that it cools quickly
pastiera-cream

Wheat cooking:

  • Place the cooked wheat (either the pre cooked one you can buy at the deli or the wheat you let soak for several hours) in a pot with 100gr of butter, 150ml of milk, 4 tablespoons of sugar, a pinch of salt and the zest of half a lemon
  • Cook it on medium-low heat and stir it continuously until the wheat has absorbed the milk for 30min, it will become like a cream
  • Let it cool

Pastry:

  • In a bowl place 1kg of flour, 400gr of sugar and add the butter cut in pieces at room temperature
  • Knead the dough and add 8 eggs
  • Continue kneading until it becomes homogenous
  • Form a ball and let it rest in the fridge for 30min covered with a kitchen towel

Finally we have everything ready, let’s prepare the tart!

  • Preheat the oven at 200°C
  • In a big bowl pour 1kg of ricotta and 1kg of sugar and mix it
  • Add 2 drops of orange blossom flower (you can add more later if you prefer a stronger taste)
  • Add the candied cedar, if you prefer mill them
  • Grate the zest of one orange and of one lemon
  • Add the wheat cooked earlier
  • Add the custard
  • Mix everything and taste it

Pastiera should reflect your taste so add more lemon or orange if you want or add less wheat if you prefer it more creamy

  • Roll the pastry and place into round pastry tins
  • Save some for the strings we will add later on the tarts
  • Pour the mixture in each of the tins, making sure you fill it to the top
  • Add the pastry strings
  • Bake it at 200°C for 15min then low the temperature at 180°C and continue to cook for 55-60min
  • Share it with you family on this special day!
pastiera-closeup