16 Apr 2013

Sharing my life call and an Italian tarte

Pastiera Napoletana my way

Some time ago my dear friend Sumaya of Pukka Paki asked me to write an introductory piece for her other food-platform Food Niche Collective. What came out is quite an explanatory piece about my newly-found life call that I would like to share with you all.
Let's all jump to the Food Niche Collective blog then.

In the meantime, let me share with you a delicious recipe that I perfected for my "Italian Easter" cooking class: the Pastiera Napoletana (Neapolitan Pastiera); I bet one slice of this would make you great company while reading my article.

This tarte (actually a galette, in the way I made it) is typically prepared in the Naples area in Italy during Easter and feature the intoxicating scent of orange blossoms water intermingled with the soothing richness of ricotta and soft cooked wheat berries. Try it and I bet you will get addicted to it and don't forget to drop me a line when you will have joined the Pastiera-lovers club.

Pastiera Napoletana

Ingredients (serve 6-8):
For the Pate Brisee:
  • 150g flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 50g sugar
  • 100g cold butter, cut into little cubes
  • 1 medium egg
For the filling:
  • 50g wheat berries
  • 300g ricotta
  • 70g sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons orange blossoms water, or to taste
  • 20g mixed candied fruits, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • A little pinch of grated lemon zest


Let´s start by preparing the pate brisee. In a large bowl place the flour, the salt, the sugar and the cold butter. Using your fingers rub butter and flour together until the whole resembles wet sand. Beat the egg in a glass or little bowl and add roughly half of it to the dough. Using your hands gently work the dough until it comes together adding extra beaten egg if it appears too dry.
Wrap the dough in cling-film and let it rest in the fridge for 15-20 minutes while you proceed with the filling.

Cook the wheat berries in hot water and sugar until they are very soft (roughly 20-30 minutes). Drain the cooked berries and cool them down using cold water.
In a bowl mix well the cold and drained wheat with the ricotta cheese, the sugar, the orange blossoms water, the candied fruits, the egg, a little bit of grated lemon zest.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/390F.
Get the pate brisee out of the fridge and place it on some floured baking paper. Dust the top of the dough with a little extra flour and roll it very thinly (roughly 4-5 mm thick at most).
Place the rolled dough with its baking paper on a baking sheet and spoon the filling on the centre of the dough. Gently spread the filling across the dough leaving a good 3-4cm of free dough all around. Using a knife, gently fold the free border over the filling and bake in the pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes or until the dough is golden brown. Start checking your pie around 20-25 minutes since each oven is different.
Let the pie cool down before serving it.