Easter is coming and that means it’s time for Pastiera Napoletana.

It’s a classic Italian Easter cake traditionally made with “pasta frolla” crust and a hardy custard like filling made up of ricotta cheese, eggs, cooked wheat berries and orange blossom water.

It is so heavenly that legend wants it to be the creation of a siren, Partenope, protectress of Naples, who concocted it from the food offerings the populace brought her every spring. The cake, Neapolitans say, was the only thing that was sweeter than the siren’s voice.

Traditionally, this wheat cake is cooked no later than Good Friday to ensure the ingredients have enough time to infuse before Easter Sunday.

I learned this recipe from Rosa, a wonderful Neapolitan lady I have known for years.

She not only told me her secrets but also came to my house to prepare Pastiera with me!

Before meeting Rosa I didn’t eat Pastiera because I didn’t like it, now it has become my favorite dessert.

It is not a difficult recipe but a little long, but it is worth it.

Video recipe of the day

  • DifficultyMedium
  • CostCheap
  • Preparation time45 Minutes
  • Cooking time1 Hour
  • Serving6/8
  • CuisineItalian


For Pasta Frolla

all purpose (AP) flour (2 cups all-purpose flour about 250 g)
unsalted butter (4,5 oz of usalted butter about 125 g)
sugar (1/2 cup of sugar about 100 g)
egg (1 large egg)
yolk (1 yolk)
vanilla bean (1 vanilla bean seeds)

For filling

ricotta cheese (12 oz of ricotta cheese (Sheep and cow ricotta) about 350 g)
sugar (1 2/3 cup of sugar about 350 g)
egg (2 large eggs)
yolks (2 yolks)
candied orange zest (3,5 oz of candied citron and orange, diced)
cinnamon powder (1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon)
lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)
wheat for pastiera (9 oz of precooked wheat berries)
unsalted butter (1 oz unsalted butter about 30 g, plus extra)
milk (4/5 cup of milk about 200 ml)
vanilla bean (1)
orange flower water (1 tbs orange blossom extract)


1 Blender
Electric hand mixers


Prepare Pasta Frolla

Put flour, cold butter in pieces, a pinch of salt and sugar in the mixer.

Operate the mixer for a few moments to obtain a mixture similar to sand.

Transfer the dough to the work surface and create a fountain.

Add vanilla bean seeds, egg and yolk and knead until smooth.

Wrap the dough with cling film and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Prepare Filling

Heat the milk together with the orange zest in a saucepan.

Add the precooked wheat and 1 oz of butter.

Mix ingredients with spoon and bring to a boil over low heat and stirring.

It must become a thick and rather clumped cream (if you prefer a smooth and creamy filling, you can mince the wheat skins using an immersion blender).

Pour cream of wheat into a bowl and let cool.

Meanwhile, put eggs, ricotta, sugar, cinnamon, orange blossom water and vanilla bean seeds in another bowl and blend with an electric mixer.

It must become a fluid cream without lumps.

Combine this cream with wheat mix, add candied citron and orange cut into very small squares.

Preparare cake

Preheat the oven to 356 °F.

Grease and flour a cake pan (ø 10 “, h 2 1/2”), preferably hinged.

Roll out about 2/3 of the dough on a floured surface until it is about 1/4 “thick.

Place in the springform pan, cut off any excess to add to the remaining dough.

Roll out the remaining dough and cut into 10 strips around 1 “wide.

Fill the dough with the ricotta and wheat mixture.

Arrange the shortcrust pastry strips on top in a crisscross diamond pattern.

Gently press the strips to make them adhere to the edge of the pastry.

Cook for about 1 hour until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for at least 8 hours in a dry place.

Pastiera is definitely better the next day

Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.


This is the original Neapolitan version, Mrs Rosa, a great Neapolitan expert who handed down the recipe to me prefers 1 cup of custard cream incorporated into the cream of wheat and ricotta because it makes the pastiera even softer and more creamy.

STORAGEPastiera tastes better the next day. It can be kept in the refrigerator covered with cling film for a maximum of 4/5 days. If you want you can freeze after it is cooked.


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