Pastiera - Food Fanatic


10 Servings


Vanilla Pastry Cream:
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 Vanilla Bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped (or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract; omit step 1 if using)
  • 4 Large Egg Yolks
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch
  • 5 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 pinch of Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperatre
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Finely Grated Orange Zest, from one orange
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Wheat Berries, plus 2 tablespoons (4 ounces)
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1 pinch of Kosher Salt
  • 12 ounces Ricotta Cheese
  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 large Egg, for egg wash


  1. Start out by preparing the vanilla pastry cream by bringing milk, vanilla seeds and pod to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat, cover and leave for 20 minutes.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they are smooth.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, add the sugar and corn-starch, followed by the milk mixture, adding slowly and mixing constantly until the mixture has thickened and starts bubbling (approximately five minutes).
  4. Pour in a third of the milk mixture slowly into the egg yolks, while whisking continuously.
  5. The remaining milk mixture can be added to a saucepan and cooked over medium heat, whisking until it rapidly boils and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, approximately two to four minutes. Remove the mixture from heat. 
  6. Place a sieve on top of a heatproof bowl and strain the mixture, discarding any solids captured in the sieve. Wrap in plastic wrap tightly and press into the mixture to avoid a skin forming. Refrigerate until firm, about two hours. You can keep this in the fridge for up to two days. Prior to use, whisk gently to soften.
  7. To make the crust, whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Either by hand, or with an electric mixer on medium, beat butter and sugar in a separate bowl until they are light and fluffy. Beat in orange zest and eggs one at a time, beating well until each egg is fully combined before adding the next. If using an electric mixer, reduce speed to low and beat in the flour mixture. 
  8. Create two disks of dough, one being about two thirds of the dough and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or up 24 hours.
  9. Make the filling by soaking wheat berries in water (covered by 2 inches) and refrigerating overnight. 
  10. Drain wheat berries and place into a saucepan with milk, water, butter and salt, bringing them to a boil. Reduce, simmer and cook for about an hour until they are tender. Drain well and spread onto a baking sheet, cooling them for 30 minutes.
  11. Preheat your oven to 375 deg F. In a bowl, mix ricotta and sugar until well combined. Add in the cooked wheat berries and vanilla cream you made previously, stirring well.
  12. Lightly flour a countertop and roll out the larger disc of dough so that it is 14 inches round and 1/8 thick. Press it gently into a 10x2 inch springform pan. Spread the pastry filling into the shell and trim off and excess dough. 
  13. Roll out the smaller disc of dough until it is 1/8 thick, and cut into 12 3/2 inch strips. Create a lattice design by weaving strips, trimming off any excess dough. 
  14. Beat an egg and brush it evenly over the top. Bake for about 60-90 minutes until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly. Allow to cool for 20 minutes after baking. Remove the outer ring of the pan and cool before serving.
Neapolitan easter pie photo
Source: Martha Stewart