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5 from 7 votes

Pastiera Napoletana

Pastiera Napoletana is a traditional Italian Easter dessert pie filled with creamy ricotta, grano cotto, citron, orange blossom water, and orange zest, topped with a golden crust and powdered sugar.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
refrigerating time1 hour
Total Time3 hours
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 12


For the wheat cream

  • 22 ounces (630g) canned wheat grain (grano cotto) see notes below
  • 1 cup (240g) milk
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

For the filling

  • 1 pound ricotta drained overnight
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • 3 ounces (85g) candied citron cut into tiny pieces

For the dough

  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 cups (320g) all-purpose flour
  • 12 tablespoons (170g) cold butter cubed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup (75g) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (45g) milk

For serving

  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar for dusting


For the wheat cream

  • Place all of the wheat cream ingredients into a large pot and cook over low heat until the mixture softens (about 10 minutes). Stir frequently to avoid burning, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

For the filling

  • Add the ricotta and sugar to a large bowl and whisk to incorporate.
  • Add the cooled wheat cream to the filling mixture. Also, add all of the remaining filling ingredients, except for the eggs, and mix once more.
  • Taste test and if needed add more orange blossom water, cinnamon, sugar, or vanilla. Once satisfied, add in the eggs and whisk together.
  • The filling should be covered and refrigerated overnight for the flavors to meld. If you don't have the time, at least try to refrigerate for a few hours.

For the dough

  • Add the flour, salt, sugar, and lemon zest to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix the ingredients. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse again. You should have small coarse pieces.
  • Next, add the eggs and milk and pulse just a few times until the dough is formed.
  • Place the dough onto a work surface and knead for a few seconds only. You just want to bring the dough together. Form two unequal sized balls. Make one large ball with 2/3s of the dough and the other smaller one with the remaining dough.
  • Wrap the balls in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before using. The dough can be made 1 day ahead of time.

Assemble and bake

  • Preheat oven to 375f and set one rack to the lowest level and the other to the middle level. Grease with butter or lard a 9 by 2" pie or tart pan.
  • Remove dough from the fridge and wait 20 minutes for it to warm up. Roll out the larger ball to a circle approximately 1/4-inch thick and about 13-inches round. Place the dough into the pan and tuck in the edges letting the excess overhang. Trim off the excess overhanging dough. Any open spots should be patched with the excess dough.
  • Pour the filling into the pan. Don't fill it all the way up to the top. You shouldn't have enough filling to reach the top, but hold off if you do.
  • Roll out the second smaller ball to a circle a bit larger than the pie pan. Cut into approximately 1/2-inch wide strips.
  • Place the strips into a diamond formation about 2 inches apart.
  • Use your fingers or a spoon to press the strips down into the corners so that they stick. If needed a touch of water can be used to "glue" the strips to the sides. Cut off any excess dough. Place the pie onto a baking sheet to prevent any drips.
  • Bake for 20 minutes on the bottom rack then move to the middle. Total baking will take 65-70 minutes or until golden brown. Check the pie at halfway point and if it looks like it's getting too brown cover loosely with foil. You might have to cover just the edges or possibly the whole pie depending on how brown it is.
  • Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the pie cools, remove it from the pie pan and sift powdered sugar on top before serving. Enjoy!


  • Makes 12 servings.
  • Grano cotto can be purchased in Italian specialty stores or some supermarkets during Easter time or all year long from Amazon and other online sellers.
  • Sprinkle powdered sugar before serving and when cold so that it doesn't melt.
  • Testing the filling is very important to get the flavor right.  Make adjustments to suit your taste.  Refrigerating overnight will further intensify the flavor of the filling.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up 4 days.


Calories: 373kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 10.6g | Fat: 19.2g | Saturated Fat: 11.3g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 235mg | Potassium: 158mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 23.4g | Calcium: 152mg | Iron: 1mg