Pages

12/24/2011

A LEGENDARY CAKE: THE NEAPOLITAN PASTIERA


The Neapolitans, one day, wanted to pay homage to the mermaid Partenope which was delighted them with her wonderful songs


 They decided to bring her a gift, through seven beautiful girls, the seven most precious things that all them had:


ricotta chese (abundance),



wheat cooked in milk  
(the union between the products of the earth),




 

d’orange flowers (the scent of Campania),



 flour (wealth),


 
eggs (fertility), spices (the union of the peoples) and sugar (the sweetness of the song).


 
The siren it was ecstatic.
Then she laid the gifts at the feet of the gods, whom, surprised by the wonderful gesture, decided to knead  all those things together.
 
 The result was a delicious and very fragrant sweet:
The Neapolitan Pastiera.




It seems that this has also made a sweet little "miracle": it is said that Queen Mary
Teresa did not smile ever, but only after having tasted the pastiera offered her by her husband, Ferdinand II became a smile away.



 
It is said that the nuns had their own particular way of working the dough: it was chosen
the more shapely nun, who sat on the dough, put on the marble seats of the cloister.
So she was struggling on it for some time,
rhythmically, while performing the daily prayers ...


cloister of S. Chiara

Well, this is a traditional cake made during Easter days, but....
It's so delicious!! 
My mother made at least 14 "pastiere napoletane" this week. 
She gave gifts to friends for Xmas feasts...


 
Ingredients
300 grams of ricotta cheese
300 gr. flour
150 gr. of sugar
150 gr. lard (or butter)
200 gr. wheat
7 eggs
200 gr. of candieds
1/2 liter of milk
50 gr. orange flower water

Preparation
Keep in soak, in water, for a few days, 200 gr. of wheat, taking care about to change the water daily.
The day prior to the preparation of the cake, cook the well drained wheat in a 1/2 liter of milk for about 4 hours, adding the grated 1/2 lemon and a pinch of salt.
However exists a special grain for the preparation of Neapolitan pastiera, ready for use.
Let the wheat cook over low heat with the pot covered.
When cooked add to the wheat, the grated rind of 1 / 2 orange, 1 pinch of cinnamon and a bit of vanilla.
Wait to cool the grain and allow it to stand for a few hours.
Prepare a pastry with 300 gr. of flour, 150 gr. of sugar, 150 gr. of lard (or butter), 3 egg yolks and a pinch of salt.
Let the pastry to stand for about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, put in a bowl 300 grams of ricotta cheese and mix it well together with 250 gr. sugar, 4 egg yolks, 50 gr. orange flower water, 200 gr. diced candied fruit, wheat and, finally,  the 4 eggs’ white mounted until stiff.
With a part of the pastry line a well buttered baking tin, then fill the interior with the ricotta mixture and flavored wheat.
With the remaining dough make some strips of the width of a finger which crossed over the filling (as usually is done with tarts).
Bake the cake in a hot oven (about 180° C) for 3/4 of an hour.
Let cool and cover it plenty with the icing sugar.


 

1 comment:

Neil Alvin Nicerio said...

Nice blog my friend! =) I love the pictures!